The small storm has subsided for the time being.
Everyone deliberately or unconsciously did not look at Cui Buqi, and tried hard to rebuild the atmosphere.
Originally he wanted to move up to Feng Xiao's side, but also stopped because he and Cui didn't go too close.
Feng Xiao didn't look up. He was concentrating and playing with something.
At the urging of the crowd, Prince Lai laughed out the first puzzle.
"Two-in-one, with four heads and eight heads, four eight one eighteen, Feiquan upwards."
There are so many talented men in the hall, and soon I was guessed that it was a "Jing", and the young scholars came out on top.
The host family just said, and the woman guessed it and gave it the jade 簪, and the man gave it the bead sword. But Cui didn't go, but Princess Leping was a little uncomfortable, and the mentor and Yan Yue said: "I have another The Tibetan sword was used by Sima Hui, a famous celebrity in the Three Kingdoms. Some people have questioned the origin of the bead sword. It is not easy for me to get you involved. Instead, use this sword instead. What do you think? "
She explained in this way, wherever the scholar refused, she would only secretly blame Cui for not going there just now, and she said busyly, "Thank you, Princess!"
The lord of Yuwen County ordered the sword from the storeroom and gave it to the scholar himself.
Others are envious, and some fortunate generations are not as quick as others. They ca n’t rely on their strength to show their strength in the following puzzles, so they use the idea of borrowing money.
The best object is of course someone who offended the mother and daughter of the princess just now.
Someone said loudly: "I heard that Cui Hou is clever and intelligent, and I have a problem here. I haven't solved it for many years. Can I ask Cui Hou to confuse me?"
coming! Everyone thought that they would turn their attention to Cui not coincidentally, and there was no doubt that it would not be too big to see the excitement.
Cui didn't sit still, and said lazily, "I rarely show up in front of people. Where did you hear my reputation?"
It is not ordinary scholars who find fault, but the children of Gaomen of Beijing, whose surname is Yang Rende, is the nephew of Yang Su, a doctor of Yushi, and has always been good with the master of Yuwen County.
Yang Rende smiled: "Cui Hou went to the Western Regions and turned Gan Ge into a jade, not only won Qiemo City, but also greeted Turkic Khan, why wasn't he smart?"
He didn't want Cui not to change the subject, did not wait for the other party to talk, and then took out a jade ball from his arms.
Under the light of a thousand lights, everyone clearly saw that there were countless small holes on the jade ball, which penetrated each other, and came in and out, the red rope penetrated through this small hole, and then penetrated through another small hole, and the entire jade The ball entangled.
Yang Rende introduced: "In fact, there is only one red rope. Some people wrapped it around the jade ball from beginning to end. It is hard to see the thread. After I got this thing, I always wanted to not damage the jade ball and red. Rope, just separate the two, but I can't find the thread when I look around. I wonder if Cui Hou can solve the trouble for me? "
He gave the jade ball to his servants and asked the opponent to give Cui Bu. The prince in the middle was curious. He took the jade ball and looked at it. After a lap, everyone couldn't find the thread, and he couldn't help wondering.
Feng Xiao is not curious about this kind of literati game, and he also thinks that this jade ball has passed through too many people's hands, and he is too lazy to look at it. He doesn't lift it from beginning to end. A bunch of peeled and uneaten oranges.
Those thousands of lights fell on the face of others, that is, to illuminate the face, but on Feng Xiao's face, it was like a layer of soft light, which made many young ladies absent-minded and stunned.
Finally, the jade ball passed to Cui Buqi.
He took the jade ball in his hand, and said, "It really is original and ingenious."
Yang Rende smiled proudly: "This time there will be Lao Cuihou."
Cui didn't shake his head: "I can't find where the thread is."
Yang Rende was surprised: "You can see through Turk Khan by posing, but don't deliberately hide it in order to please the prince and princess?"
Princess Leping laughed: "If even a clever person like Cui Hou can't solve it, I'm afraid no one can solve it that day."
She clearly praised Cui for not going, but actually elevated him high, but even if Cui did not go to the public to be teased, she could not relieve the princess's anger. Her jade finger rubbed a moment on the fan handle, counted her heart, and called The maid, commanded a few words, the maid nodded, turned and left, but met a woman in white in front of her. If she looked like a fairy, she looked cold and stunned.
The maid was surprised for a moment, and frowned, "Who are you, can you let it go?"
Qiao Xian said coldly: "Tonight, don't even want to leave."
She grabbed at the other side, stretched out her hand, and the other side fell down softly, unconscious.
The maid was not far from the princess. The short call before she fainted caused the princess to turn back, and when she saw it, she was shocked: "Who are you! Come!"
The crowd looked around, but when they saw Qiao Xian coming, they nodded to Cui Bu.
Cui didn't finally get up, smooth his clothes, and said slowly: "Fence the princess's palace inside and out, without my order, you can't let one go."
Qiao Xian should be.
As soon as she waved, several people jumped out of the darkness, directly blocking everyone's retreat.
These people are dressed in black robes, with cold faces, hanging the left moon board token, and holding the left moon knife. They are exactly the people in the left moon board.
Every word was shocked.
Everyone stared at Cui not to go, wondering what to do.
The prince raised his case, and was furious: "Cui doesn't go, are you going to rebel, come on!"
Princess Leping was so angry that she wanted to give Cui a little lesson, so that he wouldn't know the heights and heights of the future. Who knew that the other party was so mad and went so far as to make such a shocking act!
Bringing people around the princess's house without permission, blocking Prince Jin and other royal relatives and princes here, even if it is not rebellion, it is no different from rebellion.
King Jin also wanted to ask if Cui was not going crazy, but when he reached the corner of his mouth, he found that the darkness was indistinct. Apart from Zuo Yuewei, he seemed to be mixed with the guard of Yu Linjun's guard, and he could not help closing his mouth. And wait for it to change.
Cui did not ignore the harassment of the crowd, and said coldly, "Today, a thief wants to borrow a thousand lanterns to do something wrong. Fortunately, I learned the news in advance and came to stop it. The other side hid the tangerine around the Qingli Garden, and all Life is blocked. Today's banquet is full of thousands of lights and easy to get out of the water. Once the spark is ignited, you can use the oil to burn it all over the garden. Qiao Xian, bring things up. "
Qiao Xian had a pot of pomegranate flowers. In many shocking eyes, she picked up the pot and fell to the ground. It turned out that the pomegranate flowers had already been rooted and broken. Layer, spread a thin layer of soil, and then insert the flowering branches.
In doing so, Huazhi has naturally lost its vitality, but it will not be a problem if it lasts only a day or two. In order to prepare for this birthday feast, the princess ’s house almost broke his leg. He used this tactic to pass the barrier and coax the Princess County Master. Happiness is also normal. Anyway, the banquet is only one night. Who cares about the whereabouts of these flowers afterwards.
But the flower pots are filled with ointment, which is beyond justification.
Cui did not go: "Behind this observation deck, there was a small lotus pond originally, but now the water has been drained and there is only mud on it. There is really a big fire burning. You didn't even have a chance to jump into the pond."
The owner of Yuwen County murmured: "I know this. They said that I like peony and want to change the lotus to peony, but surrounded it because it was too late."
But no one heard her, everyone was stunned by Cui's words.
Cui does not go: "The terrain here is higher than other places in the garden. You can clearly see the lights below and the scenery is beautiful, but that is why, the passage to other places here will be the first fire to ignite. At that time, even if you jump from here and break your hands and feet, you will not be able to escape, because there are assassins waiting for you below. Early tomorrow morning, everyone in Beijing will receive the fire to clear the Liyuan Garden, and many princes. The princess died of the news. "
He looked around and said slowly: "Nobles present, no one is spared."
The crowd looked at Cui not to go, they were still immersed in shock, and for a moment failed to digest his words.
The Prince said, "Who! Who would be so vicious ?!"
King Jin Shen said, "Your Majesty is aware of this?"
Cui didn't look at him, and nodded: "In case, I borrowed two hundred Lin Jun from His Majesty, and have joined forces to capture all the Assassins together, together with the mastermind, a total of twenty people!"
Jin Wang Chang breathed a sigh of relief: "Cui Hou anticipated the enemy's opportunity, saved the lives of all of us, and saved all of our lives, but who is the mastermind? He can plan such a big thing, and it is absolutely impossible without internal cooperation?
Cui didn't smile a little, but his smile was not so warm to others, but he was a bit aggressive.
"Bring people up."
Qiao Xian waved his hand. Soon two of them took a young man and pushed him to the field.
The man was **** with big flowers and couldn't move. Qiao Xian stepped forward and took off the cotton from his mouth. The man immediately shouted, "Princess save me, princess save me!"
Princess Leping's face changed greatly.
The owner of Yuwen County said a little.
Cui does not go: "This person, does the princess recognize?"
Princess Leping Tieqing looked pale and silent.
Cui didn't go and changed his personal question again: "The princess doesn't recognize it, should the county owner always recognize it?"
"He's not the prince of Princess Mansion, is Ren Yue?" The master of Yuwen County said weakly.
Cui does not go: "Yes, Ren Yue came from Jinghong Jian Renjia, Ren's Jinghong swordsmanship is well-known in rivers and lakes, rare Ren Yue full of poetry, Wenwu Shuangquan, young and promising, since last year was recommended by Princess Leping and entered the house After becoming a genus, she gained the trust and reuse of the princess. "
In the last few words, he paused deliberately and said something meaningful.
Princess Leping's complexion became a little uglier with each pause.
Everyone present was inexplicable, but there was only one Xiaoxiao, which was not affected at all.
He finally stopped, looked at the table, clapped his hands with satisfaction, and patted the sticky orange on his fingers.
On the table, oranges and white pieces were put together, and a fox was faintly placed.
The fox pressed the big tail under his body, pulled his ears, and was wholeheartedly loading quails.
The author has something to say: Update it, good night dreams, what?
Cui didn't bother to admire Princess Leping's sudden change of face, and he had no time to pay attention to the others. He didn't know why he lowered his head until Fengxiao pulled his sleeve.
Then he saw the squinting fox.
Cui does not go: ...
Hesitating for a moment between "this person has a disease" and "this person is quite childlike", Cui did not choose the former, but was interrupted by Feng Xiao, he almost forgot what he was about to say, and he was reacted Princess Leping cut off her head.
"Ren Yue conspired, and even I concealed the past. Since you already knew about it, why did n’t you inform him in advance? I just want to make a fuss at the feast!" Princess Leping seized the opportunity and sternly questioned, "Prince King Jin today Everyone is here. If you accidentally hurt your life, can you afford it? "
Cui didn't scold Feng Xiao for the accident, and pulled back the lost thoughts, and said coldly: "Why is the princess so angry and angry? One, I haven't exposed the matter yet, I shouldn't hit the grass with a snake, I'll have to wait for the thief's fox tail to be completely exposed, and then wipe it out!"
Speaking of a fox, he naturally bowed his head.
The fox, made of orange and white silk, was still lying there, with his eyes half open, as if peeping at the prey in front, waiting for the opportunity.
It can be seen that Feng Xiao's accomplishments in painting should be quite good.
From this, we can see that he was just bored.
Really, the main director of the second house of Xiejianfu really just came to the banquet. No other purpose?
It is rumored that Princess Lanling is fond of Feng Xiao, and Tianzi also wants to be a good thing. He cannot come here for the princess, right?
All thoughts flashed in his mind, Cui did not go slowly: "Two, Ren Yue, this person has another name."
He deliberately paused and looked at Princess Leping's face, but the latter's face was already unsightly, and at this time he could not see the difference.
"He originally had a surname of Yuwen, with a single name."
Those who can come to the banquet today are either the princess of the prince, the noblewoman of the royal family, or the daughter-in-law of the public secretary. Everyone lingers on the upper level of the Sui Dynasty and hears the word "Wu Wen".
King Jin should first ask: "Remains of the former dynasty?"
Cui does not go: "Yes, his father is the former off-road Wang Yuwen Sheng. This year, the man escaped and was accepted for Ren's family. He changed his name to Ren Yue and became only a nephew of Ren's family. In the name of Ren Yue, he broke through the famous halls on the rivers and lakes and entered the princess's eyes. At this birthday banquet, this person took the initiative to ask the princess, and the princess let him take full charge of the banquet. Of course, he could easily arrange everything and set up killing today Bureau. "
Ren Yue shouted injustice: "I'm not Yu Wenyu, you talk nonsense! If you want to add to the crime, the princess can save me!"
Princess Leping was pale and her lips were narrow and she could not speak a word.
She wants to blame Cui for not going, but she knows that Cui's failure to say these words must have collected a lot of evidence, and it is easy to reprove them by refuting them.
"I didn't know anything about it, this time I'm in the garden, and even if I die, I will die with everyone!" Princess Leping looked eagerly to Ren Yue and questioned, "Ren Yue, I treat you well. Why do you revenge! "
Ren Yue was frightened and shouted, "Princess Mingjian, I'm really not a thief! I don't know where I got the oil from the pot. I was wronged, princess, do you even call me Do n’t believe me, you said you would love me forever! ”
Before he finished speaking, Princess Leping interrupted directly with a raised voice: "Don't drag people down!"
All the people present had different expressions, and many were pretending to be deaf if nothing happened.
It is not a strange thing for the princess to raise her head. Princess Leping has been widow for so many years, but she is still in her prime. It is also common to feel lonely for a while.
However, after all, it is only private morality. When no trouble comes to the bright side, everyone opens one eye and closes one eye. As a princess, she is still a priestess.
But Cui didn't seem to laugh or laugh, saying in a word: "The appearance of Yu Wenji is exactly like the emperor Xuan Emperor in the previous dynasty. No wonder the princess has never forgotten and empathized with this person."
Princess Leping's feet were soft, but she was fortunately helped by the left and right maids.
Cui didn't wave his hand, which made people take Ren Yue and all the offenders away.
The black cloak is out, and the plain robe is included. In his independent wind, he brings Xiao Qi's aura of killing. After this change, no one dares to approach.
Yang Rende, who had just taken out the jade ball and made it difficult for Cui not to go, was even more afraid to come out, for fear that the other would think of the scene just now and come to find him.
Unexpectedly, Cui did not forget him at all, raised his finger and held him: "Take this person away."
Yang Rende shuddered and hurriedly cried: "Cui Hou, I didn't mean to embarrass you just now. You can't fake public aid, public bulletin!"
Cui didn't cough two times: "Yang Yang, you look too high on yourself. I arrested you because the first person Ren Yuelai came to Beijing was you, and you, and introduced him to Princess Fuling Then I went to Princess Mansion for business. I would like to ask, why did you think of referring him to the princess? Could you see that he looks like a princess?
Yang Rende: "I don't, it's not like that!"
Qiao Xian was a little dumb, and people were quiet immediately.
"How to untie the red rope intact, I can't help it, but Yang Gongzi went to jail, and just had time to think quietly, maybe he could solve this ancient mystery." Cui didn't taunt, and the words turned, "Take away ! "
Feng Xiao almost laughed out loud: This man's mouth moved, but it was really hurt.
There was such a big storm at a banquet, and no one had the heart to continue, not to mention that the guests, even the host, were all disheartened and unwilling.
Prince Jin left first, and after him, everyone left.
The housekeeper who delivered the guests was busy, and Zuo Yue Bureau was still searching for other evidence in the princess's house. There was a mess in the garden, with the thousands of lights that flickered, and the time turned into a magnificent light.
From extravagant splendor to the bustling, but a song and dance effort.
Cui didn't turn around, and left under Zuoyuewei's crowd, his cloak raised a sharp night.
Behind him, almost no one noticed that the fox made of orange and white silk on the table had been deliberately messed up by his cloak, and his face was blurred.
Everyone saw him discolored, no one dared to stop all the way.
I'm afraid that after tonight, if Cui does not go to Beijing's reputation, he will have to change from an ambassador to Yan Luosha.
After leaving the Qing Li Garden, Cui left Zuo Yuewei in two sets, leaving one to stay in the park to search for physical evidence, and one set to take Ren Yue and others to the prison of the prison.
He himself, accompanied by Qiao Xian, left by car.
But as he was about to step on the carriage, a hand grabbed his cloak in time.
The speed was fast and the strength was fierce. Not only did Qiao Xian fail to respond, Cui was almost pulled back even if he didn't go.
He turned back fiercely, facing Feng Xiao's innocent face.
"Mr. Cui Dao was so arrogant that he and I stayed all night without mentioning the agreement of the day."
Cui didn't go silent for a moment: "After three days, Changyi Station outside Tonghua Gate, see you."
Feng Xiao laughed and said, "Isn't it easy to be so early? I always ask my creditor to urge debts, and people are embarrassed."
Cui didn't go: "... then you're not letting go?"
Qiao Xian made a move towards Feng Xiao, intending to catch him away, but Feng Xiao seemed to be an unknown prophet and used his other hand to fool people.
Between the two palms tossed, Qiao Xian had to turn the attack and defend, and backed off two steps.
Feng Xiao shook her head: "You were so injured last time. You haven't healed since you came back for half a month. If Ren Yue knew just now, it might not be so easy to catch it."
Qiao Xianlian was punctured by him, his face changed: "You!"
Cui didn't go to hear the girl's voice, and there was a bit of patience under her heart. If it hadn't been for a while, Feng Xiao had already left.
But he still looked back.
"What else is the county master?"
The master of Yuwen County came down to the door with the help of the maid.
"Cui Houyuan could personally tell my mother to let her prepare early, and not to be so motivated as she is now. Tonight, this mother's face will definitely make her mother look shameless, and she will stay on the front line. I will meet in the future. Think about it later? "
Cui did not take it lightly: "I already knew that this would be Your Majesty. If the County Master had any questions, he might as well ask His Majesty."
At this time Princess Lanling also came out.
With tears in his eyes, the owner of Yuwen County said, "I don't know where my mother offended Cui Hou. I want you to avenge our mother and son in this way! If so, wouldn't it be okay for me to confess my mistake to you?"
After saying that, without waiting for Cui to react, he knelt down and shook his head.
In this fashion, many guests did not leave, and there were many carriages at the door. Everyone saw this scene. They could not help but feel the sadness of the rabbit and the fox, and they also felt that Cui did not deceive people too much. Because of orphans and widows, they would be so bullied.
Princess Lanling was busy holding up the master of Yuwen County. She, who had always been gentle, couldn't help but blame Cui, saying, "You have to deal with others, and why you do, why should Chou Hou be so?"
Cui didn't have a word of excuse for just a few sentences. He just said as soon as his courtiers said goodbye before turning on the carriage and leaving the other three behind.
But after entering the compartment and sitting cross-legged, a look of doubt appeared in his expression.
The wheels slowly rolled forward.
Cui didn't go up the corner of the car curtain.
Princess Lanling was comforting her niece who looked down and wiped her tears.
Cui didn't go down and murmured.
When you are sitting alone in the car talking to yourself and someone is answering you, either hell, or someone sneaks into the carriage.
Cui didn't go back and hurriedly turned around, only to see a big head leaning in from the curtain of the other side, and then the whole body slipped in, so fast that Cui couldn't stop before he could stop.
"I feel like you are busy solving the case tonight and you have no time to chat with me. You should regret it so I came here to give you a chance to make up for it." The other side groaned with a smile.
Before he spoke, Feng Xiao had already approached. He pressed Cui directly into the car, pressed his wrists on both sides, his upper body was almost attached to him, and even the tip of his nose was so close that his breath was intertwined. Cui doesn't even go to see the other person in his eyes.
The inside of the car is a little warmer than the outside, and at this time the body is sweating visibly.
However, the reason why Cui Buqu didn't really shout is not because Feng Xiao clicked on his acupuncture point, nor was he confused by beauty.
Instead, the other's lips were almost against his lips, one word at a time, without words: car, down, there, people.
The author has something to say:
Small theater that has nothing to do with the text:
At the beginning of the establishment of Xiejian Mansion, Feng Xiao had brought a peacock feather and asked each person to insert one in his hair to show the specialness of the eyes and the Xiejian Mansion. It was strongly opposed by everyone and the implementation was unsuccessful. The feather has been inserted so far. Every time Feng Xiao saw the vase in his room, he sighed: The world is so big that there is no hero who loves him!
There were no lights in the car, and the only light source came from the moonlight, which was still quite bright from outside, and from time to time poured out from the trembling curtain.
The other's warm lips were put down, and the four words were vaguely spoken, with a little almost no sound.
Suddenly Cui didn't hold back.
Why doesn't this person say close to their ears, but close to their mouths? Being so close, even if he could understand his lips, he wouldn't help.
However, he immediately thought of a more important issue.
Those who lurk in the bottom of the car must have extremely high martial arts. Otherwise, they would have been discovered long ago.
There is also a gap between the master and the master. For example, Turk ’s first master Buddha, Er, of course, has already become a master, and he is still a bit inferior to Feng Xiao. With Feng Xiao's full shot, he was even killed.
Now Feng Xiao is sneaking into the car quietly, and He deliberately makes an intimate situation to relax the other's vigilance. Does He also show that the person's martial arts, He is even higher than the Buddha's ear, so that Feng Xiao dares not to easily shoot?
In the dimness, the corners of Xun Fengxiao's mouth rose faintly.
Without waiting for his careful discrimination, the warmth on the lips increased, the soft touch, and the weight of a head.
Cui didn't go and opened his eyes instantly.
He was struggling subconsciously, but his strength was almost the same as Feng Xiao's praying arm, which was quickly suppressed completely.
Feng Xiao's breath sprayed on her face, and Cui wasn't convinced that the other party wasn't drinking. Even if he drank, people like Feng Xiao could not go crazy.
Why did Feng Xiao do this? Is it to confuse the assassins under the ambush?
Feng Xiao almost laughed when she saw that Cui didn't go to her mouth and frowned, and turned her head.
It is difficult to believe that someone in the world will always be able to anticipate the enemy's opportunities and unknown prophets, but Cui cannot be counted as a normal person.
At the time in Turk, this guy wanted to expose Yu Xiu's true face and he took himself as a bait to take risks. At that time, Feng Xiao wanted to know if he didn't arrive in time or appeared again at the last moment, could he see Cui Bu? She changed her face and was embarrassed.
Unfortunately, I missed a great opportunity at that time. Yuxiu's martial arts were too high, and Feng Xiao had to go all out to make the excitement natural.
Afterwards, no matter what the situation was, this person always stayed in the wind, sitting firmly on the Diaoyutai, as if such a big thing happened tonight, embarrassed Princess Leping in the presence of Prince Jin and others, making her unable to get off On the stage, Feng Xiao dared to bet. After this incident, Princess Leping not only would not be grateful to Cui not to help her out the thief, but she would hate Cui not to do so.
But I didn't see Cui not go and was so upset, and there was nothing to worry about.
Feng Xiao really wanted to know, when would she see the other party unexpectedly shocked, and if she could cry for mercy, it would be better.
Crying for mercy is estimated to be a bit difficult. At this moment, I can feel the other party's struggle and faintly see Cui's expression of surprise, Feng Xiao feels that she is doing it right.
Unfortunately, the light was too dim, and I couldn't see it carefully. Feng Xiao felt a little regretful. Between the thoughts, the lips and tongue got into a mouthful of medicinal scent, and then the orange scent that ate several oranges at night was passed over.
Unfortunately, Cui didn't seem to like the aroma of oranges. He bent his knees directly to Fengxiao's perineum, but before they met, he was repressed by Fengxiao.
Cui didn't go on his body but he also had a touch of medicinal scent. That was because he took medicine all year round. The more intense the entanglement, the clearer the medicinal scent, Feng Xiao felt that he was about to become a ginseng.
He had a whimsy that Cui Daochang had eaten so many precious herbs. If he sliced the other side, would he still live forever?
I don't know who put a stone in front. The driver didn't look carefully. The wheels rolled over, and the carriage immediately tilted and vibrated. Feng Xiao seemed to be unable to support the weight. Her body crooked, and she hugged the person and rolled it aside.
Cui didn't go home and punched him in the stomach. He was about to sit up, and saw a sharp blade pierce into the compartment from under the car. It was cold, and Jian Guang was only two cents away from them.
The other side missed, instead of fleeing, he moved the blade forward fiercely. It seemed that they could sense the position of the two people across the carriage.
Feng Xiao grabbed Cui's belt and flew towards the roof.
Boom, the carriage roof was completely shot, and the two jumped out of the car. The assassins followed, and Bai Ying rose up.
Feng Xiao threw Cui Buqi to Qiao Xian in mid-air, and then fought fiercely with Bai Ying. In the mid-air, the palm shadow and Jianguang of the two flew apart, almost not distinguishing the speed.
An ordinary assassin must be dressed in dark clothes, only to hide his body as much as possible in the dark, but this person is extremely conspicuous in white, which shows his confidence and pride.
The other party intentionally concealed the atmosphere before, and Qiao Xian only found out that the other party existed, and couldn't help but be shocked.
Can be tied with Feng Xiao, regardless of up and down, these masters will never be anonymous on the rivers and lakes.
But Cui didn't frown slightly.
He could not see the origin of the man.
The opponent ’s martial arts path is very weird. Some tricks are like the swords of Jinchuan Village in the southwest, but they use swords as swords and swords to transform swords and swords. They merge and flow, and some tricks are like Taoism in the vein of Xuandu Mountain. The sword technique is just more powerful, and it also has more evil spirits. There is a lot of cold light everywhere, killing the fierce power of the world.
Each martial art has its own style, and it is impossible for a person to learn all the martial arts in the world. If he appears to be everything, he will either show it or conceal his true origin.
The person in front of him must be the latter.
His martial arts is outstanding, but his face is very ordinary. At first glance, it will never make people want to see it at second glance, and it is easy to be forgotten.
Qiao Xian also saw some questions: "From the appearance of his martial arts, it seems that there is no record of this person in the file of Zuoyue Bureau. Is he Yirong?"
"Maybe." Cui didn't go and made no comment.
Tonight, except for the sudden emergence of the assassin, everything went smoothly, including Ren Yue's capture and evidence of rebellion was found, but Cui did not always have a strange feeling, as if Ren Yue was not real Mastermind.
Is it related to the 13th floor of Yunhai?
Between his thoughts, Feng Xiao's fight with the man in white was getting faster and faster, not to mention the stunned and panicked chauffeur and others, even Qiao Xian, it was difficult to intervene in the middle of the process. The two ace masters split the game.
But the more she looked, the more shocked she became.
Feng Xiao's martial arts is already high. Assassins can fight with him.
Who can drive such a person to assassinate Cui?
If Feng Xiao wasn't in the carriage just now, Cui wouldn't be afraid that she would have died.
If this person comes out every three minutes, can Cui not survive?
With such a thought, Qiao Xian became even more worried.
How she saw how Feng Xiao was not pleasing to the eye, but she was looking forward to Feng Xiao killing the other party.
Even if Feng Xiao often jumps out in the future, Qiao Xianxin said that he would never find trouble with Jie Jianfu again.
However, Qiao Xian hasn't known what happened in the carriage. If he knew it, he would hope that Feng Xiao and Assassin would all die together.
But the situation is not optimistic.
Jianguang lingered around, and the sword gas almost formed a tornado, trapping Fengxiao inside.
The body shape of the white man changes, and the ghostly ghost disappears and suddenly appears, but it also implied the Eastern Ninjutsu, but the ordinary Eastern Ninjutsu, but using the visual defects of humans, he combined with swordsmanship to make it bigger. power.
For a time, Feng Xiao was trapped inside, but there was nothing he could do.
And the white man's sword is so glorious that it looks like a gorgeous glow, and he has hanged his head to him!
The other party came for Cui not to go. It is natural that Qiao Xian's martial arts can't stop him, so Cui doesn't go to death, and there is no possibility of escape.
Who knew that Fengxiao appeared in the middle, not only stopped him from killing him, but also had a fight with him to dawn, and the white man who was proud of himself was extremely angry. The two of them met for a moment, and Feng Xiao finally accidentally exposed the empty door and white clothes. The person turned into a rainbow immediately, and then flew into the sky, and then turned back suddenly for a long time. He turned his head down, twirled the curtain of the sky, embracing the sense of murder, and rolled towards Fengxiao!
The child was near, and the clouds were thick and thick, and there was no sound around him. Even ordinary people were shocked, and he didn't dare to come out to watch the lively. , No one noticed.
Qiao Xian issued a firework signal to notify the people in Zuoyue Bureau, but even if people come, I am afraid it will be difficult to stop people in white.
Except for Feng Xiao and the people in white, there was only one carriage on the empty street, and the shivering driver was hiding far from the roof, and Cui Bu and Qiao Xian were watching from the sidelines.
When Jian Guang was about to sever his opponent's head, and a gleam of blood spilled out, the white man suddenly gave birth to a trace of regret.
Feng Xiao, who has taken over the power to unravel Sword House, has acted with high profile and publicity. Many people have long been secretly resentful. If he could kill him in the large court and the eyes of everyone, the effect would be better. In one wing, no one can hold up the gate court, only to dissolve it.
As soon as the idea started, people in white discovered that Jian Guang seemed to be facing invisible obstacles, and could no longer go down. Wan Jian returned to one, the gorgeous sword light disappeared, only one sword, and it was held by Feng Xiao!
The opponent actually relied on this sword with deep internal force?
The man in white was shocked and did n’t have time to think about it, so he wanted to draw a sword, but the sword seemed to be inserted into the mud. The latter wrapped the sword with a heavy weight, which not only made the man in white unable to retreat, but also could not help but be pulled. Live down!
In the distance, Zuo Yuewei's footsteps range from far to near. The person headed by him is the eldest grandson of Zuo Yue, one of the deputies.
Although this person's martial arts are slightly inferior, but the two have joined forces, they may not be able to win the white people.
The man in white knew that he was destined to run a white trip tonight. In order to avoid losing his wife, he succumbed to the soldiers. He immediately drew his sword and withdrew his figure. He flew back, and flew out a few feet instantly. Rise and fall, then disappear into the night.
Feng Xiao fell from the roof to Cui Buqi.
He bleeds from the palm of his hand as he picks up the sword with his bare hands, dripping down.
Feng Xiao raised the sword with an uninjured hand for a while, shook her head, and threw the blood-stained sword to the ground.
"No logo, no calendar, it should be just an ordinary sword."
"What's wrong with your hands?" Anyway, Feng Xiao saved his life tonight. Even if Cui didn't go, even if he knew that the other party might have to get an inch and ask for credit, it wouldn't be ignored.
The dark clouds gradually dispersed, and a little bit of starlight hung above the head again. Cui Bugo's lips were brighter and swollen than usual.
Faintly, as if, as if, still seeing a little moist.
It's just that Qiao Xian didn't go to see it, so he didn't find it.
And Feng Xiao was guilty of a thief.
Naturally, he refused to admit that he was a "thief", glanced over his lips without notice, and Feng Xiao bowed his head, his face suddenly changed.
"No, poison on the sword!"
Cui didn't sink to his heart, subconsciously catching the opponent's leaning body.
The next moment, he saw that Feng Xiao's lips had begun to bleed.
"Qiao Xian, please help him see it!"
Qiao Xian quickly hurried over his veins and frowned, "His pulse was weak, as if he was really poisoned. I couldn't think of a solution for the moment. Honorary, let's send him back to Xiejianfu, lest Xiejianfu be Someone misunderstood! "
The eldest son of Bodhi arrived, Cui didn't let him stay to clean up, explained to the patrol guards, and investigated the identity of the people in white, and rushed to Xiejian Mansion with Feng Xiao and Qiao Xian.
Also in the capital, here is not far from the Sword Sword Mansion, and it can be reached in half a while, but Feng Xiao is lying on the carriage, his face is getting more and more gray, and the dazzling oleander essence is now smashed into a flower The withered flower was about to wither, but he seemed to have unbearable pain, and clutched Cui Bugo's wrist tightly.
Cui did not whisper: "Qiao Xian, is there any obstacle to his life?"
Qiao Xian was ashamed: "The subordinates are only general in pharmacology, and dare not make conclusive conclusions. I heard that there are many medically sophisticated people in Jiejian Mansion. Maybe they have methods. of."
Feng Xiao frowned and said weakly, "You guys, stop talking, my head hurts."
They really shut up.
Feng Xiao said again, "I feel uncomfortable lying on my back ..."
He struggled to hold up his elbows, and put his head on Cui Buqi's thigh. Cui almost wanted to pull out and let him hit him hard, anyway, remembering his previous performance and barely holding back.
Feng Xiao: "Cui doesn't go ..."
Cui didn't go.
Feng Xiao: "Did you hate me?"
Cui does not go: "None."
Feng Xiao: "Why are you so sorry for words?"
Cui did not roll his eyes: "Did you just say that your brain hurts, let's not talk?"
Feng Xiao: "I just, listening to Qiao Xian, my head hurts."
Qiao Xian was about to move, almost itch.
Feng Xiao: "No, can you tell me ..."
Cui does not go: "No."
Feng Xiao: ...
He glanced weakly at Cui, covering his chest and starting to cough.
Cui did not look indifferent, and finally got a little loose.
Feng Xiao: "I only ask you three questions."
Cui does not go: "One."
Feng Xiao: "Two."
Cui didn't go and twitched his lips. Was there any energy at this time to bargain?
Feng Xiao: "What is your relationship with the Queen of Solitude and why is King Jin ..."
"Why does the owner of Yuwen County treat me so far away, Princess Leping is terribly jealous of me, and King Jin is so kind to me?" Cui did not answer his question.
Feng Xiao drew a corner of her mouth: "Yes."
Cui does not go: "I don't want to answer this question. Change it."
Feng Xiao: "But I just want to know, I'm interested in everything about you."
He said, his complexion turned blue, and he couldn't breathe any more. The strength of holding Cui not to go to his wrists became stronger, but his hands were much colder.
Cui didn't move his heart slightly, watching Zhang Junmei's incredible face lose his vitality a little bit. The first thing that floated was not that he was glad that Zuo Yueju might lose a rival, but was a little sorry.
There was only regret, after all, Feng Xiao was up and down, and only that face was a little worthwhile, he thought.
"Because of the impermanence and anger of the Xuan Emperor of the Chao Dynasty, he suspected the Yang family, but the Gongguo could not make up his mind to usurp the throne because his daughter was noble. Advice, Chen Ming pros and cons for the emperor and the lone queen, eventually made them determined. "Cui did not go slowly.
Feng Xiao was surprised.
He had made countless ridiculous guesses before, even guessing that Cui could not be the illegitimate son of the emperor, or had a private relationship with the queen, but he did not expect that this was the possibility.
It turned out that as long as the emperor was with the emperor, Cui did not go to be their counselor, and even once stated that the mountains and rivers changed the color of the Northern Dynasty.
Feng Xiao: "Why ..."
Cui does not go: "After the event, the emperor was sealed, I could have taken the lead, but the fresh flowers and broiled oil are not a good thing. I prefer to be an obscure chess player rather than a showy player who is in charge. . "
Feng Xiao was shocked, so everything could be explained.
Cui didn't go to such great power, but he did not take credit for it. The empress naturally became more and more important and guilty, and even made him take charge of the Zuo Yue Bureau at a young age. The lone queen even regarded Cui as the chief counselor. Therefore, King Jin naturally wanted to please Cui not to go, but for Princess Lehua's mother and son, Cui did not go, but it was the person who caused them to lose their status as the queen queen and princess of the Zhou Dynasty. They naturally respected, hated and feared, and their feelings were more complicated.
Taking Cui as a person, this level of identity is his hole card, which will not be easily revealed.
But tonight, he actually revealed to Feng Xiao.
Feng Xiao smiled at him and passed out.
The carriage finally came to the gate of Jiejianfu.
The people in Xiejian Mansion got the news and came out of the nest to see that Cui did not go with Qiao Xian, and even looked poor. Even if Qiao Xian explained it, it was hard to misunderstand.
"Since the person has arrived, we will leave first." Cui did not go and turned to leave, but was stopped by Pei Jingyan.
"Lang Jun obviously went to the banquet, why he was so badly injured, and before he woke up, Mr. Cui didn't leave."
"Let him ... leave." Feng Xiao, who was supported by him, opened his eyes slightly, weakly.
"Lang Jun!" Pei Jingxun couldn't believe it. Is this still the goose who plucked its hairs, and the goose will go to the owner of Feng Erfu who plucked a few hairs?
"Let them go." Feng Xiao closed her eyes and didn't want to say much.
Pei Jingxi waved his hand and motioned for everyone to let go, unwilling to watch the carriage go away.
Because Feng Xiao was seriously injured, the entire Jiejian Mansion was alarmed.
The doctor was dragged up in the middle of the night by the third house master Mingyue, rubbing his eyes and rushing over with a medicine chest.
Pei Jingxi just saw Feng Xiao ’s half-dead look at the door. She was so scared that half of the three souls and seven souls were gone. Both legs were the same as cotton on the way back. "What to do if Lang Jun happens unexpectedly" Ask yourself.
As a result, he rushed to Fengxiao's room with soft hands and feet, and saw Fengxiao sitting cross-legged on the couch, reaching out for the doctor to bandage the wound on his hand.
Besides, his face is ruddy and his eyes are bright. Where is the slightest sign of dying?
Pei Jingyan :? ? ?
The author has something to say:
Congratulations to Feng Er for pretending to be dead and getting one of the active unlocked vests!
Feng Er: What a joke, if you get cheap, you can't sell well, you have to pretend, so that you won't be miserable.
Finally before 12 o'clock, the cute crabs ’nnnnnn mines, messages and nutrition fluids. In order to avoid swiping the screen in the future, King Meow will directly give back in the form of random red envelopes, and today will also send 50 red envelopes randomly.
Pei Jingzhe was standing at the door, contemplating life.
He remembered just now when he helped Feng Xiao into the room, that he had checked his pulse prior; it had been evidently weak and inconsistent. This was the sign of someone who was experiencing poisoning that had reached into his bones as well as sustaining heavy internal injuries.
Could it really be…terminal lucidity? Pei Jingzhe’s nose twitched.
When Feng Xiao realized the other did not move, his expression bouncing between pale white and blue, soused deep in his own imagination, he asked strangely, “Are your meridians sealed?”
As his words dispersed, a man in azure-colored clothes rushed in and panted heavily as he shouted Feng Xiao’s courtesy name, “Yuntian, this is the JiuZhuan pellets from my martial sect, it could prolong the process when one is heavily injured…”
Ming Yue, the Third Commander’s voice suddenly paused and his expression mirrored Pei Jingzhe’s, both of them staring dumbfounded at Feng Xiao, who was as lively as a tiger.
But Ming Yue’s reflexes were quicker than Pei Jingzhe’s, “You faked it?”
Feng Xiao replied cheekily, “By executing both the guixi and meridian sealing techniques, it could make one look like they are nearly dead. I fear that in this world, I might be the only one who can think of such a way to unite both techniques.”
However, the first technique was originally used to aid someone in faking death, and the latter was used to prolong the process of poisoning. Both of them were only used when the situation is extremely undesirable and when there are no other option left. Who would have toyed with them like this?
The corner of Ming Yue’s lips twitched, “So you mean that, your body at a glance, the only part of you wounded is your hand. Did you push yourself to try so hard just to ensure that the Zuoyue Bureau owes you a debt for saving them?”
Feng Xiao raised a brow, “At least this time, not only did I manage to cheat death once, I even got to know a considerably big secret. Do you think it’s worth it?”
Ming Yue did not understand, “You want the Zuoyue Bureau to owe you a favor?”
Feng Xiao smiled happily, “What is the Zuoyue Bureau worth? Without Cui Buqu, the Zuoyue Bureau is like a person without a heart.”
The more Ming Yue listened, the more confused he became.
Feng Xiao waved his hand, “There is no need for you to interfere in this matter. After three days, I will go on a trip to Ping’an in Boling with Cui Buqu. Lao-san, the House of Blades will remain in your care.”
Ming Yue. It was a very poetic name.
It was common for people to imagine the owner when hearing that name. Many of them would think of a woman as gentle and soft as water, but the truth was always cruel. It wasn’t only the fact that Ming Yue wasn’t a woman, he was even a simple and honest middle-aged man whose looks were not extraordinary in any way. He rose earlier than chickens and slept later than dogs. In the absence of their first commander and the wayward personality of their second, he abandoned countless meals and hours of sleep to fill himself in their place. Everyone heralded him as the House of Blades’ foundation and pillar.
So, Third Commander Ming listened to Feng Xiao’s orders and nodded his head, not feeling surprised at all, “That will be no problem. Please rest assured.”
Pei Jingzhe’s conscious wavered, “My Lord, could you take me along?”
Feng Xiao replied with a face full of disgust, “Last time your wage for this year was all deducted. I’m afraid this time, if you do something wrong again, even your wage for the next year will be gone!”
Pei Jingzhe’s face looked like it had been wronged, “I have already progressed!”
Feng Xiao raised two fingers, “I will give you two choices. One, you are allowed to come with me, but with every mistake you make, one month’s wage will be deducted, no limits. Or two, I want you to go to a place and do something for me. If this task is successful, then not only all your previously deducted wages will be returned, they will also be returned doubled the amount.”
Without even thinking twice, Pei Jingzhe said, “I choose the second choice!”
Feng Xiao smiled and nodded his head in agreement.
Once he thought about how all his wages were going to be returned, Pei Jingzhe’s mood positively shifted. He happily excused himself and left.
Starring at the image of Pei Jingzhe’s back, who looked as if he grew a pair of wings, Ming Yue suddenly smiled, “You originally wanted him to choose the second choice, right?”
Feng Xiao, “He definitely cannot accomplish the task I gave him. At most, he could only accomplish half of it. When that time comes, all of his deducted wages will be returned to him, but there will be no need to add.” Ming Yue was speechless, “Second Commander, I feel that your background might be inaccurate. Do you want someone to investigate it?”
Feng Xiao, “Investigate what?”
Ming Yue, “Investigate whether there is a family with the surname Tie in the Northern Dynasty, who lost a son by the name of ‘Gong Ji’.”
Tie Gong Ji. (Iron rooster, used to describe someone who is very stingy)
Who could have guessed that Feng Xiao was born thick-skinned; he wasn’t ashamed, in fact, he was proud of it and full of explanations.
“Pei Jingzhe, that rascal. On normal days he never gave thought to his duties, instead, sometimes he slacked off to gift flowers to the maiden in the neighboring house, other times he would help the maiden on the last street named ‘Song’ to sell baked pastries. Does he really think I wouldn’t know? A jade that is not carved cannot become something else. What do young people like him need so much wage for? It’s only fine as long as it is enough for him to use, otherwise, he would squander them all to wine and women!”
When it comes to the most handsome man in the House of Blades, the position naturally belonged to Feng Xiao. Even in the whole of the Sui Empire, there were only a handful of people who can level with his looks.
When a person has an extremely bombastic appearance, it creates a distance between themselves and others. People would avoid trying to get close to them. It was just like the ladies Feng Xiao spoke of. Even though at first they were seduced by his looks, in the end, they still deem that plain- looking sweet little Pei Jingzhe was more suited to common households. So, following the fact that Pei Jingzhe often showed up in this district, he became a favorite of the little ladies living there.
If Cui Buqu was here, he would have definitely said that Feng Xiao was jealous of Pei Jingzhe, but Ming Yue was an honest person, so once he heard Feng Xiao’s words, he only rubbed his nose, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. “Right, I need you to investigate something for me.” Feng Xiao said. Ming Yue listened intently.
Feng Xiao, “Go investigate Princess Leping herself, or the Linlang Guild that she had a share in, and whether or not they were related to the Yunhai Thirteen Stories.”
“That’s impossible. Are you suggesting that Princess Leping is the one behind the incident today? But her surname is Yang!” Ming Yue showed a look of shock. Since something huge happened in the Thousand Lanterns Banquet, even if he didn’t know the full situation, he must have heard of it.
Feng Xiao, “Do you think being the Empress Dowager is better, or a princess?”
Ming Yue was stunned.
Feng Xiao asked again, “Do you think that having the Emperor as your son is much better, or having the Emperor as your father would be much better?”
Ming Yue, “But the late Emperor was not the Princess’s own son, yet the present Emperor is the Princess’s own father. Between father and an adopted son, there would be a difference.”
Feng Xiao nodded his head, “Logically, it should be like this. But don’t forget that Princess Leping is a very stubborn person. When the new Dynasty was established, in her heart bore hatred and she had squabbled with her parents before the audience, using even death as a threat. In the end, as days passed it was slowly tamed, but from the way she behaved towards Cui Buqu, it can be seen that she did not put down this past of hers. However, she dared not point her hatred towards her parents, so she pointed it to Cui Buqu.”
Ming Yue, “But everything you say now are only theories. Do they have any other proof?” Feng Xiao, “Just now, whoever hid under the carriage and fought with me was an incredibly skilled martial artist. I do not believe that the male lover of the Princess, Ren Yue, would be capable of such a thing of having a top martial artist working for him.”
Ming Yue, “So you mean that there might be someone behind Ren Yue, and that person is very possibly related to the Yunhai Thirteen Stories as well as the Princess?”
After a moment of thought, Feng Xiao said slowly, “Perhaps not. Princess Leping might be the one behind the Yunhai Thirteen Stories herself.”
Ming Yue opened his mouth in shock, his tongue tied into a knot. He felt that the other’s theories were too bold, but even if he was bold, it wasn’t considered as unrealistic. It was also because Feng Xiao had no proof, that it felt even more shocking.
“However, Princess Leping really does not seem like someone who would be so calculative and deep. Moreover, the former Dynasty was gone, even if she destroyed all her current brothers and father, she could not resurrect the Yuwen family. Wouldn’t that just be making herself the Empress?”
Feng Xiao touched the bottom of his jaw, “These bold theories are not bad. I do not believe that Cui Buqu has never thought of this possibility before. When tomorrow comes, you can arrange people to start investigating in secret, to keep an eye on Princess Leping. I believe that something would happen around her sooner or later.”
As he spoke, he felt a little proud, “This time, the House of Blades would definitely be a step ahead of the Zuoyue Bureau. Don’t let them take all the glory all the time. My favorite thing to see is Cui Buqu giving that, ‘I’m obviously pissed and unhappy but I can only suppress it all inside’ look!”
Ming Yue was speechless, “I wager Cui Buqu does not know your wounds were faked? If someone is about to die, they cannot suddenly jump all lively to Boling three days later, do you think Cui Buqu is really that stupid?”
Feng Xiao’s smile suddenly froze.
He ran a hand down the side of his face, his expression suddenly turned into respect, “You are right. Three days would be too brief. Tomorrow, send someone to tell him that my situation is bouncing between extremes, let him wait for me for five days.”
Ming Yue tried to give suggestions, “Should I say that your poisoned wound is incredibly severe and that it might never be healed so he could come to visit you?”
Feng Xiao, “No can do. You don’t understand this man named Cui. He is like a donkey from head to tail and you can only smooth the hairs in one way. He’s intelligent and suspicious, the more you want him to do something, the more he wouldn’t do it. In fact, if you said too much, he will definitely notice it. You only need to tell him what I said.”
Ming Yue twitched his lips, “Whatever, whatever. I’ll listen to you. Let me return to take a rest first!”
Feng Xiao lied down and covered himself, closing his eyes as he said, “Even if I’m going to pretend, I will do the full set. Starting from tomorrow, I am a severely wounded patient who cannot even raise his shoulder or his hand. Help me kill the candles.”
Ming Yue: “…”
He waited until Ming Yue closed the door, his footsteps traveling far away. Only then did Feng Xiao open his eyes again and looked outside the window.
The moonlight shone upon the window, its gentle light piercing through translucent paper, just like how it was before when he was on the horse carriage looking up at the stars. A wobbling carriage, soft cotton-padded seats, and a pale-white face.
Eh, that face looked ordinary, it was not even ten or twenty percent comparable to himself. What advantage does it have?
However, the moan that poured from the other’s lips wasn’t completely unpleasant to hear.
Feng Xiao touched his own lips.
Originally, it had been partially elation, and partially to explore. Right now, instead of being less interested, it seemed that there was an answer for his means to explore.
“I feel like…… something’s wrong.” He mumbled to himself.
Then, if in near future, a brilliant opportunity to pit Cui Buqu was laid before him, would he have done it, or would he not?
Lao-san:literally translates to ‘Old Three’. It’s a very brotherly way of calling someone. Since Ming Yue was the third commander, he’s called ‘Old Three’/Lao-san, whereas Feng Xiao should be called Lao-er/Old Second, and their eldest should be Lao-da/Old Big.
Gong Ji: Rooster.
Eight days went by; other than a trip made by the Zuoyue Bureau to deliver some medicine over, not a sound was heard.
If Feng Xiao hadn’t met Cui Buqu outside the TongHua gate as promised, he would have thought that the other had forgotten about it.
Cui Buqu was sitting in the horse carriage reading a book at that moment. After meeting Feng Xiao, he behaved differently than he did before; he was gentle and polite, going so far as to put his hands together to greet Feng Xiao and asked after him.
“I haven’t seen you for eight days, how does Commander Feng fare?”
For a split second, Feng Xiao almost thought that someone else was masqueraded as Cui Buqu.
They stared at each other in the eyes.
Cui Buqu’s expression was incomprehensible.
Ah, this was the fitting expression he knew, Feng Xiao thought, only did he get onto the horse carriage in reassurance.
“It’s not going too well.” He sighed faintly, reaching out his palm, “Look, the scar has not completely healed. It still hurts vaguely during rainy days.”
“In the past eight days, the weather in the capital was undeniably sunny, there was not a single rainy day.” Cui Buqu reminded him. Feng Xiao recalled that the other man has a photographic memory, but despite this fact, his expression remained unchanged. “That’s right. Even though there were no rainy days, after the wound closed, it still hurt every night and made it very difficult for me to sleep. When I think about that fight again, I recall that the opponent’s martial arts are indeed strong to the point of exceeding my expectations, and I never would have thought that he would dip his sword with poison.”
Cui Buqu stared at his opened palm, verifying that there really were a few light scars; they would definitely vanish in time, but with Feng Xiao’s degree of narcissism, how would he tolerate such flaws on himself?
“This favor of you saving my life, I will keep it in my heart and never forget it.” Cui Buqu said gently.
Feng Xiao blinked. He felt that Cui Buqu was not himself today, but after his speaking adversary said that sentence, he did not continue.
“What follows next?”
Cui Buqu, “What should follow next?”
Feng Xiao was dissatisfied, “In the past eight days, I never saw you coming to thank me yourself.”
Cui Buqu said innocently, “Because I’ve been investigating the whereabouts of the culprit who had wounded you.”
Feng Xiao, “Have you found him?”
Cui Buqu shook his head, “Since that night, the culprit has never shown himself. He has vanished completely. Thankfully, however, I have managed to discover something else, so at the very least I have done my part in your case, Commander Feng.”
Feng Xiao, “What did you discover?”
Cui Buqu smiled, “It would be impossible for the poison in your body to clear out in just eight days and leaving not a single trace. So, I have found a very skilled physician and from him, I learned a form of acupuncture. I guarantee this will help Commander Feng to neutralize your poison with no side effects whatsoever.”
As he finished speaking, he pulled out a pouch from his bosom and took out a needle.
Feng Xiao: “…”
It really was a needle.
However, that needle was as long as three inches and as thick as one’s little finger.
Once this needle pricked him, he feared that not only would it remove the poison, it would remove his life as well.
Feng Xiao twitched the corner of his lips, “I have never seen such a thick needle. I wager you have surely spent no little amount of manpower to have it manufactured within these few days?”
Cui Buqu replied to him kindly, “When one is gravely ill, the medicine used must also be equally strong. Commander Feng, don’t pretend to hide your condition from your doctor. Come, I only need to prick you a few times.”
Feng Xiao remained silent for a while, then, “How did you come to realize it?”
He claimed his own theatrics to be quite convincing. When they met, he was careful to distort his voice into a state of someone who was still weak from recovery, as well as ensuring his pale skin was still vaguely pale. If Cui Buqu wanted to check his pulse, he would even discover how weak it was. These were the preparations he had made prior. There was no need for Cui Buqu to be suspicious.
Who could have guessed that he was still exposed. Cui Buqu casually threw the needle away and laughed coldly, “Has Commander Feng himself forgotten that the one who fought you that night abandoned his sword before fleeing the scene? If you were poisoned, then how can there be nothing on the sword?”
After Zhangsun Bodhi arrived at the venue, the sword was given to him. Although they haven’t managed to discover where the sword originated from, the poison on the blade would surely be questioned by a naturally meticulous Cui Buqu.
Feng Xiao touched his nose, blaming himself for being careless. When he faked his injuries that night in order to make Cui Buqu forget what happened in the horse carriage, he had forgotten about the existence of the sword.
“However, the fact that I was wounded for you and saved your life was surely not faked!”
Cui Buqu laughed coldly, “Had it not been for that, how would I still be sitting here and speaking nicely to you?”
Feng Xiao wasn’t quite satisfied, “Regardless, I’ve saved you once.
Could you not be gentler with me?”
Cui Buqu really did smile more gently, with a voice slow and soft, “If not for me, wouldn’t Commander Feng also perish in the Qingli Garden that night? So many members of royalty and nobility were present. Even if you can escape on your own, you could not have evaded the questioning that would come afterward. For this matter, it’s a draw for both of us.”
Feng Xiao broke into a cold sweat, “Forget it! Let us just fall back into our previous relationship!”
Cui Buqu grinned faintly. He really was eager to stop pretending, “I have something I wish to ask of Commander Feng.”
This was the Cui Buqu he was familiar with. Feng Xiao’s heart calmed down, he waved his fan, “Ask away, I don’t mind.”
Since he was already exposed, Feng Xiao no longer put on the frail act. His body slanted within the soft lush cushions on the horse carriage and returned to his usual drawled and lazy manner—the Commander Feng who had always snubbed all the rules.
Cui Buqu glared at him, “On the horse carriage that night, why did you behave inappropriately towards me, Commander Feng?”
Feng Xiao played dumb, “That assassin pierced his sword through the bottom of the carriage. If I hadn’t carried you and rolled away, how would you have avoided it on your own?”
Cui Buqu squinted, “And the incident before avoiding the attack?”
Feng Xiao swallowed slowly, “Before avoiding the attack, I was listening to the movements of the assassin.”
Cui Buqu could no longer hold back, he shouted, “You were obviously taking advantage of me!”
Feng Xiao pretended to be surprised. “Right! I remember now. That was also for the purpose of deceiving the assassin, so I was left with no choice. Master Taoist Cui, surely you can understand my reasoning?”
He was full of excuses spoken with innocence. After he finished speaking, he even gave Cui Buqu a toothy grin, trying to prove that he had no ulterior motives.
As both of them glared at each other, Cui Buqu snorted coldly, no longer questioning further. Instead, he picked up his book and resumed reading it, minding his own business.
Feng Xiao watched Cui Buqu’s ear twitching and he suddenly smiled.
When he kissed him that night, as Cui Buqu’s struggles transitioned from surprise to fury, yet finding that he was unable to escape from Feng Xiao’s grasp, his ears had turned red the same way they have now—tingling slightly, with the corners of his eyes painted by little bit of red, his lips quivered with moisture. It had been undeniably cute.
This also meant that even if Master Taoist Cui looked calm on the surface now, his heart was actually burning in fury as he tried to devise ways to torture and pit Feng Xiao.
Even if the book he was reading now is ‘Tao Te Ching’, what was read into his head was the ‘Thirty-Six Strategems’.
Feng Xiao realized that he discovered a little secret from the other party, so he couldn’t help feeling happy for himself in secret.
Cui Buqu paid him no attention. Not even his eyelids were raised.
Both men squatted on different corners of the horse carriage, each enjoying their own peace and quiet, laying their schemes low for the time being.
Qiao Xian’s wounds had not fully recovered, so Cui Buqu did not allow her to come with him. This time, he brought two Zuoyue guards instead and Feng Xiao had been even more casual than himself, for he brought no one at all, coming all alone. Just like that, the four of them equipped themselves lightly as they traveled West from Daxing City. The horses traveled by day and stopped when night fell, so they arrived very quickly in Ping’an City outside the county of Boling.
During that period of time, the Northern and Southern Dynasties were divided. However, after the excellent governance of Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou from the former dynasty, Yuwen Yong, added with the power of the Emperor of the current dynasty—the Sui Empire that ruled the Northern territories—everything has most likely settled down. If one were to take the official path there, they would find their journey to be smooth, with no robbers or bandits in sight. The sky already darkened. The city’s gates were closed. If they wanted to enter the city, they would have to wait until tomorrow morning. It was fortunate that even suburbs would have posthouses for people who were unable to hurry back to stay the night. As days passed, teahouses were set up near it and a small number of families grew into a few dozens of families, gradually forming a new village. During nightfall, it would be extremely crowded.
Once they arrived outside the posthouse, employees would come out with a welcoming aura to take their horses. Those two Zuoyue Bureau guards entered to register themselves for the stay. Cui Buqu and Feng Xiao sat at the teahouse outside, a cup of green tea each sitting in front of them, watching the sunset in the distant mountains and listening to the bustling noises within the city. This was certainly a special way for one to spend leisure time.
The teahouse wasn’t huge. With a seat each, it was difficult to avoid cramping together. Feng Xiao could very easily nudge Cui Buqu’s ribs.
Cui Buqu was drinking tea. He was jabbed by Feng Xiao on an itchy spot and practically spat his tea out.
Feng Xiao laughed at him, “So you are ticklish!”
Just as Cui Buqu wanted to pour the cup of tea in his hand all over Feng Xiao’s head and clasp the cup on it, he heard a questioning voice next to him, “This place is very cramped. There is not much space. Could my Lords please move to the left?”
The voice was as clear as oriole fresh out of the valley, there was no need to look to know that this voice belonged to a young maiden.
Cui Buqu replied with an “En”, before he shifted himself towards Feng Xiao, only then did he raise his head to see the person that came.
The moment he looked, he was stunned. Author’s Notes: Happy Qixi dears, I promised a little treat:
[A small scene unrelated to the story]
After many years, on the seventh day of the seventh month.
On the day where Niu Lang and Zhi Nu meets, in the world of mortals, lovers also came together.
Feng Xiao prepared a gift for Cui Buqu—a paper fan.
On one side Feng Xiao painted a portrait of himself and on the other side, he painted Cui Buqu.
This way, whenever Cui Buqu was missing him and he wasn’t by his side, he could open the fan to see him.
Feng Xiao was confident that Cui Buqu would definitely love a gift like this.
From the day before yesterday, he was also waiting for Cui Buqu to give him a gift.
However, he would not ask about it on his own accord, because this would expose him for being too impatient and too initiative.
Yet, to avoid his royal highness forgetting due to how busy he was, he still sent Pei Jingzhe to take a detour and remind him of it.
With how intelligent Cui Buqu is, he would get the hint.
However, Cui Buqu has not divulged anything. When both of them ate out together, the other did not even hint anything, he couldn’t even remember that Qixi was only a few days away.
Feng Xiao really felt a little nervous now.
He ordered Pei Jingzhe to investigate Cui Buqu’s intentions. On the morning of Qixi, Pei Jingzhe came to report that the Zuoyue Bureau ordered a carton of mandarin oranges.
Feng Xiao suspected, it couldn’t possibly be that Cui Buqu assumed he could eat an entire carton of mandarin oranges just because he had seen him eating them at Princess Leping’s Thousand Lanterns Banquet, surely?
Forget it. That bastard Cui would never be willing to waste his time on relationship matters. It was already hard enough to make him admit that he had feelings for himself. This sort of understanding, concern, and gentleness would require patience to be pried open. For now, he was willing to accept those mandarin oranges.
In the end, Pei Jingzhe reported that Cui Buqu has distributed all those mandarin oranges to the members of the Zuoyue Bureau.
Feng Xiao is gradually sinking into a very bad mood.
He finally couldn’t stop himself and immediately ran to the Zuoyue Bureau. When he met Cui Buqu face to face, he asked, “Where’s my gift?”
Cui Buqu did not feel surprised at all, “I’ve prepared it.”
Feng Xiao brightened, and told himself: this bastard Cui did have a heart after all.
However, he only saw Cui Buqu taking out a big bowl of mandarin oranges shreds.
“I realized you loved playing with these, so I purposely bought an entire carton of mandarin oranges and ordered their shreds to be peeled before they were eaten. Here, take them, they would be enough for you to create a few pictures.”
Feng Xiao: “… ”
Which bastard was the one who invented Qixi?! I’m going dig a grave for him! Tao Te Ching: a Chinese classic text traditionally credited to the 6th- century BC sage Laozi.
Thirty-Six Strategems: a Chinese essay used to illustrate a series of stratagems used in politics, war, and civil interaction. Its focus on the use of cunning and deception both on the battlefield and in court has drawn comparisons to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
The person who came was around seventeen to eighteen years old. She was in the flourishing period of her life. Her braids reached down to her waist, her complexion was beautiful, and she was wearing a set of azure- colored robes like the rippling surface of lake water, bellowing like willow leaves. However, that was all she was. She wasn’t considered a dazzling beauty, let alone the face of one who would make flowers cower in shame.
There were three other people accompanying her: her maidservant, an elderly man with a white beard, and a child that was carrying a medicine box.
“Thank you, my Lord.” The young woman in azure-robes replied kindly as she seated herself. When her gaze fell upon Feng Xiao, she was unavoidably stunned for a moment.
Practically every young woman would induce this kind of reaction upon meeting Feng Xiao. After so many years, he had gotten used to it. Now, no matter how many gazes stared at him like that, it wouldn’t have been enough to affect him.
However, the young maiden came from a prestigious family; so, although she was curious, she did not rashly point it out.
“Your Lordship, your complexion suggests that you are unwell, mayhaps you are often ill and plagued by insistent coughs?” The elderly man, one of the maiden’s traveling companions, inquired Cui Buqu on his own accord. Cui Buqu, “That’s right. This was the way I was born. It was fortunate that I have managed to retain my life, but now I am but only cheating through my days.”
The elderly man said with a tranquil tone, “If the young master does not mind, please allow me to check your pulse.”
Cui Buqu replied with a faint smile, “I appreciate your good intentions. However, this illness has long been in my bones and cannot simply be saved by the skills of mortal men. Mister, you need not squander your efforts.”
Since he was unwilling to let him check his pulse, the elderly man merely sighed and did not push further. Instead, he took out a ceramic bottle from his bosom and gave it to him.
“These are Qingxin pellets I have manufactured myself using licorice, wolfberries and other common herbs. It could soothe the meridians of the lungs and clear the liver. Young master only needs to take two pellets a day; although it cannot cure any severe illnesses, it could refine your body. After some time has passed, the results will show themselves.”
This time Cui Buqu did not reject him. He accepted the bottle of medicine, “Many thanks, mister. May I ask how much do these pellets cost?”
The elderly man gave him a fleeting smile, “I’ve said just now that these are made from common herbs, so they do not cost much. After you finish them and deem the results satisfying, you can purchase more from the Baoning Hall in Ping’an city.”
Cui Buqu, “Then it would be disrespectful of me to decline.”
As both of them conversed, a horse carriage passed by. From the looks of it, the people inside also wanted to enter the city, but since they were a minute too late, another old man and a few children descended from the carriage. Their gazes suggested that they were in a good mood as they sat inside a teahouse further ahead. “Doctor Sun!” The old man held his grandchild’s hand as he made his way here to greet them, and spoke in surprise, “It’s a surprise to see you here. Were you on your way back to the city?”
Sun Jimin ruffled the young child’s head before saying kindly, “Yes I was, but I came too late. It seems like we can only enter the city tomorrow morning. Where are the lot of you going?”
The old man, “I am bringing my grandchildren home. Da Lang, come, greet grandpa Sun!”
Sun Jimin chuckled, “There is no need. Quick, rise from your feet!”
The old man quickly added, “This is necessary. As people, we cannot forget the kind deeds of others, so he should definitely remember the favor you did us, Doctor Sun!”
People inside the teahouse wandered to and fro; some of them who were not locals found it interesting, so they sought to inquire from people around them. Cui Buqu and Feng Xiao both conveniently listened to their conversation.
The old man’s surname was Cong, the only child of three generations of his family. A few years ago when his daughter-in-law had a case of dystocia, her life was on the line. Their family was so poor that they couldn’t even employ a midwife, so the entire family was practically cornered and could only watch as a pregnant woman’s life slowly ebb away. It was all thanks to Sun Jimin who happened to pass by and heard the crying, then he brought his assistant with the medical box, rushed in and personally delivered the child. Thanks to him, both the mother and the child were safe. After that, Sun Jimin even issued a medical formula to allow the mother to refine her body, assisting her past the dangerous stage. Due to the family barely making ends meet, he never took a penny from them. Instead, he took responsibility of all the cost required for his assistant to acquire the necessary medicine and deliver it to them.
After that, elder Cong allowed his son to serve as an intern for a merchant group and learned to do business away from home. Eventually, because the son was visionary, the family’s situation changed over the span of a single night. When his grandchild was five years old, they were already a considerably well-off household, and the Cong family never once forgot the favor granted to them, so they named the grandchild ‘Nianen’. Every festive season, they send poultry and fish over to Doctor Sun.
The azure-robed young woman noticed that both Feng Xiao and Cui Buqu were still listening, so she added for them, “In the past, Doctor Sun established his own medical house for his patients, but every time he encountered people who could not afford to pay, he pitied them and waived their fees. In time, his earnings couldn’t even cover his own expenses, so he was employed by our Baoning Hall instead. However, even after that, he still insisted on waiving medical fees for his first ten patients every day, so those who really cannot afford to pay for their medical fees would start queuing up in front of the clinic the night before.”
Cui Buqu, “How may I address this maiden? Are you the apprentice of Doctor Sun?”
The azure-robed woman smiled, “My surname is Cui. I am the ninth among my siblings. You people may call me Ninth Lady Cui. I wanted to pursue Doctor Sun in his studies, but Doctor Sun was not willing to accept me as his intern; for trivial things such as following him around, I was accepted only because the elders in my house begged for it.”
Sun Jimin was bantering with elder Cong and his grandchild, but once he heard Ninth Lady Cui’s words, he turned around and said to her: “The career path of a doctor is for life; carrying medical books, recognizing medical herbs, it’s not natural to remain in one place, one must travel the world and bear the heart of aiding it. Your family was one of the wealthy, there is no need for you to make ends meet; when you are of age, you will marry and raise your children with your spouse. Why would you go seeking trouble for yourself?”
Ninth Lady Cui replied to him in all seriousness, “Doctor Sun, in the past days before the sun even rose, I followed you out of the city and ventured into every corner of the village searching for herbs to manufacture medicine. Was this not enough to prove my sincerity in wanting to become your disciple?”
Sun Jimin sighed, “Ninth Lady, I watched you grow up since you were a little girl, and I’ve known your grandfather for many years. Even if he permitted you to follow me out of the city for a few days, he would have declined if he knew you were to pursue me in medical study.”
Ninth Lady Cui protested, “If he refused to allow it, then I would beg him until he does!”
Feng Xiao listened quietly for the most part of the argument, until suddenly he interfered, “Consider me slow, but is Ninth Lady Cui from the house of Boling Cui?”
Ninth Lady Cui blinked, “Yes, I am. I still do not know the names of both my Lords.”
Feng Xiao’s expression was unchanging, “Oh, my surname is Pei, and my name is Jingzhe. I travel the world in search of knowledge and somehow passed by Boling. I heard that during this month of every year, the Cui family organizes a Literary Festival. Even though my abilities are rusty and my knowledge shallow, I would like to join the crowd and see for myself the skills of great scholars.”
He pointed at Cui Buqu, “This is a friend I met on my journey. We found that we synchronize with each other, so we’ve decided to travel together, he’s called…”
Cui Buqu finished his sentence at the right moment, “My name is Feng Xiao. Feng from the word ‘Pheonix’, and Xiao from ‘Sky’.”
Feng Xiao: “…”
Ninth Lady Cui immediately said, “That’s a good name!”
Cui Buqu, “Hardly, perhaps a bit too garish. When I was little, I was plagued by many illnesses, so my mother named me ‘A-Gou’, so I felt that Feng A-Gou sounded more pleasant to the ears. Ninth Lady Cui can directly address me as Feng A-Gou (Feng Dog).”
Feng Xiao twitched the corner of his lips, he couldn’t help but reach out his hand and poked Cui Buqu’s sides mercilessly!
Cui Buqu squirmed drastically and literally jumped from his seat.
Ninth Lady Cui said in surprise, “Are you alright, Young Master Feng?”
Cui Buqu, “A smelly little rat followed me along the road. Its habit to bite me never ceased and just now it took the chance to bite me again.”
Ninth Lady Cui was scared and immediately looked around, “Where is the rat?!”
“Relax, it’s been chased away by me.” Feng Xiao said, “What is this Literary Festival all about? Please do tell us all about it, Ninth Lady Cui!”
When her name was spoken by him, she immediately forgot all about the mouse and said, “The Literary Festival was organized by my fourth uncle, Cui Pei. After that, due to more and more people attending each year, grandfather decided that on every fifth month of the year, by the end of spring and the first days of autumn, the festival will be held. This year, the theme should be ‘pomegranate flower’. I heard that the new city’s garrison would also come forth to attend this year. My grandfather has always been happy to help and he loved young talents. Both of you are scholars, so why don’t you follow me back to see my grandfather? If he likes you, he might even allow you to stay in the Cui manor, so there is no need for you to go looking for an inn and your money can be saved.”
Although she was speaking to both of them, her gaze would pause on Feng Xiao from time to time; her words seemed biased as if she deeply wished that Feng Xiao specifically would agree to stay.
However, what Feng Xiao noticed was that when Ninth Lady Cui mentioned her grandfather, a cold smile appeared on Cui Buqu’s face, but it vanished as quickly as it appeared.
“This…would it not be too much of a trouble? After all, we have never met before…” Feng Xiao said reluctantly.
Ninth Lady Cui smiled, “Be at peace! My grandfather and fourth uncle would often invite passing scholars to stay the night. However, my fourth uncle is not present at this moment, I fear that both of you should first visit my grandfather. If both young masters really are brimming with talent, my grandfather would definitely treat both of you like honored guests.”
When she put it in this way, the ‘young and vigorous’ Feng Xiao agreed immediately.
“Naturally, we are not uneducated people!”
Ninth Lady Cui smiled sweetly, “That’s excellent. Tomorrow, both young masters can follow me into the city!”
At present, the teahouse has mostly been cleaned up, and judging by the color of the sky, nightfall drew near. The teahouse was prepared to turn in for the day, and everyone else has also concluded their discussions, retiring to their rooms to rest.
In these sorts of places, where people from outside the city often came here to stay, the mattresses couldn’t be changed every day; even once a month was considered to be frequent. Feng Xiao wanted the boss to change the mattress for him, but the other could not find one. However, Feng Xiao would never treat himself so badly.
So, after Cui Buqu took a bath, a Zuoyue guard came in to report that Feng Xiao had moved all the soft pillows and cotton-padded mattresses into the room.
There was no need for Cui Buqu to guess what the other was up to. He sent the guard away with a wave of his hand before walking to the house next door. Once he entered, the fragrant scent of soap filled his nose. After his bath, Commander Feng had let loose his damp hair, allowing them to spread all over as he laid on the bed on his side, one hand propping his head up and one leg propped on top of his other leg. There was a piece of candied fruit in his mouth and next to him stood an employee from the inn who was reciting from a book—
“The sun was high in the sky this day, yet Maiden Song and her maidservant went to the Jade Buddha Temple to offer some incense. The moment they arrived outside the stone stairs, the weather took a turn of moods, strong wind and rain begun…”
Cui Buqu recognized him as the employee who guided them to the inn just now. He roughly knew how to read; he even knew how to recite the menu for them as if he was singing a song.
Feng Xiao really gave him a couple of prompt and useful talents. The inn’s own mattress was now discarded on top of the table.
Feng Xiao squinted his eyes and waved a hand at Cui Buqu from the door, “A-Gou, come in, what are you doing standing there for?”
After a moment of silence, Cui Buqu asked seriously, “I want to know, do all top ten martial artists known to mankind also behave like this behind closed doors?”
Fo Er: “??? Not me.”
Yu Xiu: “??? Neither do I. I am very graceful, alright?”
Who would make flowers cower in shame: This was a phrase used to describe Yang Guifei, one of the four great beauties of China.
Da Lang: ‘Lang’ is a form of address for a young boy.‘Da’ means big or eldest, ‘Er’ means second, and ‘San’ means third, ‘Si’ means forth. These terms will appear in future chapters, but I will leave footnotes. Nianen: ‘Nian’ means ‘To ponder about’ and ‘En’ means ‘favor/deeds’. A-Gou: ‘Gou’ means ‘Dog’.
Translator’s Notes: After this chapter, every subsequent chapter for this arc would come a little slower, as they’re all long chapters until the end of the arc. But for now, please enjoy the first glance of FengCui’s potentially domestic life =)
Feng Xiao couldn’t stop himself from bursting out in laughter when he heard his words.
“QuQu, you really do know how to joke. Of all the top ten martial artists under the Heavens, at a glance, have you seen any of them that was as graceful as a jade trees swaying in the wind like me?”
Cui Buqu replied expressionlessly, “I do not know whether they are jade trees or not, but of all the top ten martial artists under the Heavens—“
He pointed at the mattress that was being squashed now under Feng Xiao’s body, “When it comes to the thickness of one’s face, I fear no one can be on par with you.”
Feng Xiao snorted, “I haven’t even begun to be calculative about the fact that you’re using my name yet, at the very most I will just let you sleep on this very spot tonight.”
Cui Buqu as a person was not as fastidious as Feng Xiao, but it really has been too long since the mattress in this inn was exposed to the sun; there was even a rotten, decaying smell radiating from it. As for the blankets, other than tea stains, there were even some mucus and yellow spots of unknown origin. Even Cui Buqu found it difficult to pretend as if nothing was out of the ordinary and lie on it. Perhaps even the floor was cleaner.
As he contemplated between sleeping on the ground and sharing a bed with Feng Xiao, he chose the latter in the end.
After all, no one would make an enemy of themselves; the ground was hard and cold. Perhaps nothing would happen if other people slept on it, but Cui Buqu would definitely get a cold.
Feng Xiao waved his hand and tossed a few coins to the employee. The latter left holding the money in delight, not neglecting to close the door behind him.
Cui Buqu’s body was not in a prime condition and it was easy for him to tire out. If he did not have a good night’s sleep, then he would experience even more fatigue the next day. Therefore, he had no interest in bickering with Feng Xiao. As he put on his robes and lied down, very quickly everything fell into silence.
However, Feng Xiao was excited and wide awake, so he tossed and turned restlessly.
The bed of this inn was not very sturdy to begin with, so once he started turning around, sounds of squeaking could be heard. Moreover, Feng Xiao did not only turn once, he slept on his left for a while, then on his right, then on his back, then on his left yet again…
Cui Buqu could no longer tolerate it and sat up, “Do you want to sleep or not?!”
“I have a question on my mind, if I do not have the answer to it, I fear I would not be able to sleep.” Feng Xiao said innocently.
Cui Buqu spoke coldly, “I only agreed to bring you the zither Yu Yin. Tomorrow, Ninth Lady Cui will take us to see Cui Yong, the patriarch of the Cui family. This is your chance. After that, how you will get your hands on the zither would be up to you completely.” He turned around and pulled the blankets up, no longer paying the other any attention.
Feng Xiao giggled and said, “QuQu ah, since you already spoke in such a heartless manner, you should have just sent someone to come with me, or simply point the direction to me, why would you come yourself and embark on such a long, winding journey? Could it be—“
Both of them were sleeping close to each other to begin with. He moved forward a little until he could practically smell the scent of shampoo on the other man’s hair.
Cui Buqu’s hair definitely smelled differently compared to his temper; it was soft and smooth, but because of the condition of his body, he had thinner hair compared to others.
“Could it be that, Master Taoist Cui, you came for a completely different reason?” Feng Xiao dragged his voice as he finished his sentence.
Cui Buqu’s back was faced to him as he slept on his side. He did not even move.
Feng Xiao laughed in a noncommittal way, “When we met Ninth Lady Cui just now, your face obviously changed. When I looked closely at her, I realized her eyes resembled yours a little. This proved that your relationship with the Cui family is not so simple. I suppose you might even be the older brother of Ninth Lady Cui. However, after so many years, they never knew of your existence and this again proves that you never wanted to share any relationship with them. So this time, you came for something else. Is it the Yunhai Thirteen Stories?”
“Last time, when you told me that the Jinhuan group leader, Ning Shewo, went north, I also told you that I received some news, do you remember? I was not pulling your leg at that time, the news I received could really be of use to you. If you really want to know, it’s not impossible for me to tell you.” He rambled on non-stop for practically an entire night, only then did he realize that Cui Buqu still did not move.
Feng Xiao found it very hard to believe that the other man could still sleep in such a situation, so he couldn’t help but stretch out his neck to look, only to realize that Cui Buqu’s ears were stuffed with…
Lumps and lumps of fluffy white cotton. Feng Xiao: “…”
Cui Buqu’s lips were curved into a smile. He was dreaming of pushing Feng Xiao into a very deep pit, watching the other jumping about in the pit as he screamed. As for himself, he stuck out his torso as he stood on the edge, brimming with satisfaction.
Ever since he stuffed cotton in his ears, he was finally at peace. After a pleasant dream, another good night’s sleep went by. All those disturbing noises of various people shouting were all abandoned outside until the next dawn, when his eyes opened naturally.
When he turned his body, he realized Feng Xiao was missing, and outside the door sounded a conversation between two people.
Ninth Lady Cui had just woken up to wash herself. She was standing in a strange posture in the residence, but once she saw Feng Xiao walking out, she couldn’t help but smile.
“Young Master Pei!”
Feng Xiao walked over, “Ninth Lady Cui, are you practicing the Five- Animal Exercise?”
Ninth Lady Cui responded shyly, “Yes, Doctor Sun was the one who taught me. I’ve just begun learning, so this must seem like a joke to you.”
Feng Xiao said, “There is no need to be humble. I have also once learned the Five-Animal Exercise. You’re considered quite a fast learner with this set of formation that you’re practicing. The Cui family was always known to have a famed and prestigious reputation. All these years many talented folks have emerged from your house. Since Ninth Lady Cui is one of the Cui family, it’s your right to be smart and intelligent by nature as well, able to grasp the full concept with only a bit of a hint.”
Ninth Lady Cui was praised until her face turned red all over, “Young Master Pei, you’ve overestimated me. Actually, if we were to speak of intelligence in the Cui family, the name itself should belong to my eldest cousin brother, Cui Fei. Wisdom came to him early, and by the time he was fifteen, he had already proven himself to be extraordinarily gifted. Right now he is compiling the county records with a few people. The former Garrison Commander even wished to recommend him into the Imperial Court.”
There was no shortage of pride in her words. Feng Xiao smiled as he listened and picked the right moment to interfere, “What about the other brothers of yours? Surely they are all extraordinary as well?”
Ninth Lady Cui shook her head, “No. Other than my eldest cousin, some of my other brothers and cousins died early and some others already have families of their own. The only one who is more or less my age and is still in his studies would be my fifth brother.”
Ninth Lady Cui’s grandfather, Cui Yong, had four sons.
The eldest son was over fifty years old, he had enough gentleness to spare and wasn’t exceptionally talented, but if everything went well, then he would be the future successor of the Cui family’s business.
The second son passed away thirty years ago.
The third son, Cui Lin, was mediocre. He has a pair of son and daughter; the daughter was Ninth Lady Cui, and the son was the fifth brother she spoke of, Cui Bin.
The fourth son was Cui Pei. He was talented in literature writing and enjoyed traveling to gain worldly experiences. His friend circle was vast, and he was the most well-loved son of Cui Yong. In the county of Boling, the Cui family has always been eminent. They were the most distinguished family so, even every new Garrison Commander was obligated to pay them a visit.
At present, aristocratic families was in quite a prestigious position, even the Emperor who was above all had to treat them with courtesy and respect. Even the Imperial Family of Yang came from an illustrious family of the Guanzhong plains themselves. and these members of powerful families were often closely related to each other, so the way they behaved in front of the Emperor was unlike how common citizens looked up to him. The difference was massive.
So it was quite easy to scout for information regarding the Cui family.
Before he arrived here, Feng Xiao already knew most of them.
Even if there were shady secrets hidden within their façade, these were not things people like Ninth Lady Cui would have known anyway.
Cui Buqu pushed the door as he walked out and was greeted by the sight of Feng Xiao and Ninth Lady Cui conversing with familiarity and full of laughter.
When Ninth Lady Cui saw Cui Buqu, she smiled and waved at him, “Young Master Feng! You’ve woken up. There is breakfast in the front hall, so please help yourself. After that, we can enter the city to visit my grandfather.”
Cui Buqu replied in a dull tone, “Your grandfather must be a busy man. I fear he does not have the time to see people like us. Why don’t we just leave it? During the Literary Festival, we should still meet.”
Ninth Lady Cui perceived that as him being shy, so she quickly said, “My grandfather is usually very friendly and kind. He is easy to get along with. Please rest assured! He likes talking to young people and he definitely wouldn’t make it difficult for you.”
Cui Buqu gave an empty laugh, “I couldn’t have guessed that your grandfather is a perfect person in your eyes.” Ninth Lady Cui couldn’t hear the other meaning between his words, but Feng Xiao could see it clear as day. When a tinge of mockery surfaced in Cui Buqu’s eyes, it never meant that he was giving honest praise, in fact, what he said usually had the opposite meaning of it.
“Ninth Lady, we will be enjoying breakfast first, then we will see you again later.”
Feng Xiao cast a smile at Ninth Lady Cui and made use of the chance while the other was still mesmerized by him; he tugged Cui Buqu’s sleeve before quickly leaving. They did not stop until they arrived in the front hall, only then did they slow down, “You’ve already held so much hatred for them, yet you still came because of me. A-Qu, I am really touched.”
Cui Buqu rolled his eyes, “Commander Feng’s narcissism really is something else; I would not be surprised if you are ranked number one under the Heavens!”
Feng Xiao replied angrily, “The Ninth Lady was well-loved, adored, and well-fed since she was born, while you ran away from home since you were little and had to endure the weight of the world, grinding away your life. Had it been me, I would have been angered to the bone. However, Ninth Lady Cui is not a fool. If you continue to mock with stoicism, she will notice it sooner or later. I was wondering if this time you came here, surely, wouldn’t it be just to tell her that you are her brother by birth?”
Cui Buqu’s footsteps slowed down.
Feng Xiao laughed, “Haha. Originally I wasn’t so sure myself, but when I see your reaction now, I know that I have guessed correctly.”
Cui Buqu, “Commander Feng, are you truly that bored?”
Feng Xiao, “Cui Buqu, there are countless mysteries on you. If I could undo the knots one by one, wouldn’t that be very interesting?”
Cui Buqu replied to him coldly, “You were wrong about two points. First, I did not suffer because I left the Cui family; it was because I’m riddled with illnesses and it left me with no option but to leave the Cui family. Secondly, hate is born out of love. I hold no hatred towards the Cui family because to me, they are simply strangers that came into my life and left. Even if you knew my background and my birth, they can never be valuable to you to use against me in order to get the zither Yu Yin, so you can kill that thought!”
As he finished, he left in quick steps, no longer paying Feng Xiao any attention and left him with only the sight of his forlorn shadow and suppressed noises of coughing.
Feng Xiao twitched his lips and leaped into the air, before very quickly landing on the ground with an innocent sparrow in his hand that just happened to pass by.
“How many times do you need me to repeat myself so you can understand that I have no interest in the zither Yu Yin! Do you really want to keep struggling, to close your eyes and ears, and allow yourself to be misguided by your own intelligence?!”
The little sparrow’s head was tapped a few times, so it chirped loudly and noisily, even pecking his finger a few times in fury.
He released his hand and allowed that fat little bird to escape from the devil’s grasp and fly back into the broad sky, afraid of being caught again.
Feng Xiao suddenly smiled.
Naturally, had it been Cui Buqu, he wouldn’t have run away so quickly like the sparrow.
He wasn’t a sparrow, neither was he a sickly eagle. He wasn’t like anything in this world that was ordinary and bland, he wasn’t born well- protected under the shade of a large tree, like treasured plant that grew up guided by the wooden poles.
He was Cui Buqu, the one and only Cui Buqu, the Cui Buqu who could still manage to chisel a path out even if he was cornered on the very edge of a cliff.
“It’s fine. After all, who made you Cui Buqu?”
Feng Xiao rubbed his hands together, flicking away the dust that clung to his sleeves before walking to the front hall.
It was no longer early in the morning, so not much breakfast was left. People who planned to enter the city have already left. Both of those Zuoyue guards have already finished their breakfast and were currently waiting outside.
Cui Buqu sat alone on a table, all prim and proper as he dined on a mantou.
In front of him, there was a bowl, and next to it was another bowl. Both of those bowls were filled with congee.
Although the adjacent bowl did not have as much congee as Cui Buqu’s own bowl, it was still considered a bowl of congee, not at all an empty bowl.
Feng Xiao suddenly felt his mood lifting up once again for no reason.
After Cui Buqu finished half of the bowl of congee in front of him, he turned towards the person that came and watched him taking the other bowl for himself before dining on it.
“I took that for myself.” Cui Buqu said. He did not reach out to snatch the bowl back, because that wasn’t his style.
Feng Xiao, “With your usual appetite, you can hardly finish one bowl yourself, so why would there be another one?”
Cui Buqu, “Because that was all the congee left in the inn, so I told them to serve me everything.”
Feng Xiao spoke slowly and properly, “With Master Taoist Cui’s personality, you would pour everything away if you couldn’t finish it rather than put it on the table in front of my eyes. Since you put it here, doesn’t that mean that you are already prepared for the fact that I will see it?”
Cui Buqu said plainly, “I have taken a sip from that bowl of congee.”
Feng Xiao really did pause for a moment, but in the next second, he still poured everything down his throat as if nothing was unusual.
Cui Buqu could not stop himself from glaring at him for a while. He found it very difficult that a germaphobe like Feng-Er had turned indifferent over it. Feng Xiao finished the congee all at once and then smiled at the other, “If someone had taken a sip before, there would be marks left behind on the edge of the bowl. A-Qu ah, was it really so difficult for you to admit your moment of soft-heartedness to preserve a bowl of congee for your comrade?”
After he finished, he didn’t wait for the other to be provoked before changing the topic immediately, “Last time you said Ning Shewo went North, but actually, the House of Blades had already received particular information: that the Yandang Estate’s Young Master Lin Wei had also left home just recently, and right now he is heading to Donghai Jun.”
Cui Buqu really did abandon the thought of bickering with Feng Xiao.
He squinted his eyes, “So, it really is Donghai Jun!”
Feng Xiao replied knowingly, “Have Ning Shewo’s whereabouts also advanced?”
Cui Buqu, “A few days ago, Ning Shewo had already arrived at Dongchu Zhou. Dongzhu Zhou and Donghai Jun are not very far from each other, at most one day apart. In theory, both of them could meet very quickly.”
This man, Lin Wei, had met Feng Xiao a few times. Later on, in the Linlang Guild’s auction event, when Cui Buqu was concealing his identity, mistaken by Feng Xiao to be the murderer of the Khotan Ambassador and was held custody by his side, he had witnessed Lin Wei’s devotion to Feng Xiao, the former had even seen him as a love rival.
As for Donghai Jun, they managed to find it from the poem hidden on Duan Qigu’s corpse; a poem that made no sense whatsoever even if it was plagiarized by the poet. After an entire day of beating around the bush, Cui Buqu and Feng Xiao only vaguely managed to discover these two places: Donghai Jun and Jieshi. However, they have yet to discover where the gathering will be taking place.
Feng Xiao waved his fan and said, “Jieshi Mountain is situated in Feiru county, it should belong to the region of Beihai Jun. I have sent people to Beihai and Donghai to scout for information and they discovered something very interesting.”
He was leaving it on suspense and refused to continue.
Cui Buqu said plainly, “There is a mountain and a pavilion in Shetan of Donghai. The mountain represents ‘returning to the mountains’, and the pavilion represents ‘the pavilion of yearning’; the pavilion is at the foot of the mountain and the mountain is next to the pavilion. This happened to form the last sentence of the riddle: When I return safe from this dreadful strife, my spirit shall forever live with thee.”
Feng Xiao extended his hand, “I see you’ve discovered it on your own, it seems like I should have minded my own business.”
Cui Buqu muttered dully, “Nanjin Huan and Northern Yangdang; the martial arts of the leader of the Jinhuan Group and the Yangdang Estate are not considered top-tier, but they’ve managed to grasp the entire business involving the Southern water canal transport, evolving into one of the wealthiest houses in the Northern Dynasty. If the Yunhai Thirteen Stories wanted to commit to something huge, the first thing they need is a source of continuous funds. So it wouldn’t be strange for them to pull these two houses to their side.”
He put down his bowl, “What I found strange was the motives behind these people. Yu Xiu wanted to lend Princess Qianjin a hand and since he had no sire or mother, nor any relatives, he was considered a desperate man. Duan Qigu emerged from the background of a bandit, but after that, he turned over a new leaf and controlled half of Qiemo city. He too learned to treasure his own life, his refusal to ally with the Yunhai Thirteen Stories was what got him killed. However, Ning Shewo and Lin Wei do not seem to have motives in aiding the Yunhai Thirteen Stories. So, how in the world did they get persuaded into it?”
“This isn’t strange. Everyone in this world has weaknesses; some people valued wealth, and others valued their own lives. Didn’t even people like Yu Xiu, who did not fear death nor valued wealth have someone like Princess Qianjin whom they couldn’t let down? Although the Jinhuan Group was powerful in the Southern Dynasty, it was because they had the support of the Emperor of said Dynasty at their backs, that they could keep themselves afloat. Last time, didn’t the adopted son of Ning Shewo bid for the treasuries in the auction of the Linlang Guild to bribe the guards close to the Emperor? This has proven that the Jinhuan Group watched the wind before they set sail. As for the Lin family—“
Feng Xiao smiled for a moment, “Perhaps you have investigated Lin Wei, but something you have yet to know is that twenty years ago, something happened in the Yangdang Estate. That time, Lin Wei’s grandfather had a pair of sons who were identical twins. Lin Wei’s father was the little brother, so he had an older brother who was originally the successor of the estate. However, twenty years ago, his older brother went missing while he was on his way home. Lin Wei’s grandfather sent people out to search for him for a very long time, but in the end, they found his corpse by the river, indicating that he drowned. However, how was it possible for a practitioner of the martial arts to drown? When no conclusion was drawn for that case, the next successor of the Yangdang Estate, was naturally Lin Wei’s father.”
As he watched Cui Buqu in profound thinking, he added, “Are you pondering over whether the little brother murdered his own big brother over the position of the successor?”
Cui Buqu shook his head, then nodded again, with a confused expression on his face.
“I suddenly thought of something else that is unrelated to this case, so I will leave it aside for now. Listening to what you said, the brothers seemed to be on good terms, so won’t it be impossible for them to murder each other over the Yangdang Estate?”
Feng Xiao replied knowingly, “The brothers fell in love with the same woman. The elder brother sacrificed his love life for the sake of his little brother and even confessed to their father that he had no intention of succeeding the estate. Under such circumstances, there was no reason for the younger brother to murder his older brother.” Cui Buqu spoke slowly, “Then, what if the current ‘little brother’ was actually the older brother? The older brother murdered the little brother, so there was no longer a rivalry for the estate’s successor. His old love once more returned to him. Since both of them looked identical, no one from the outside would be able to tell, and if their speech and mannerisms were also identical, they could even cheat past their own family members.”
Feng Xiao remained silent for a while before saying, “Why should I sit here early in the morning listening to you babbling supernatural fantasies?”
Cui Buqu replied in his heart: Because you drank that bowl of congee.
“Why are both my Lords looking so strict?” A clear and light voice of a young woman interfered as Ninth Lady Cui walked over, to remind them of the impending journey.
Today, she remained dressed in azure-colored robes, but the cuttings of her robes were different from the ones she wore yesterday. It wrapped around her waist more tightly and there were green ribbons tied to her hair. As the saying goes, ‘a woman should dress herself up for her beholders’, so when Ninth Lady Cui noticed that Feng Xiao’s gaze lingered on her recurrently, she couldn’t help feeling happy inside her heart.
“I’ve already sent people ahead to notify grandfather. Perhaps we can arrive in the Cui manor before noon. When the time comes, grandfather will most definitely welcome you with a feast and ask you to make yourselves at home.” Ninth Lady Cui was desperately looking for a subject to converse but couldn’t help feeling a little shy, so after she finished sheepishly, she excused herself and ran ahead to Doctor Sun.
Feng Xiao commented, “Although you and she are siblings, you both are very different.”
Cui Buqu did not pay him any attention and climbed up the horse carriage. Feng Xiao followed closely behind him, determined to pry his mouth open, “After so many years of not returning home, are you perhaps feeling a little bit sentimental and uncomfortable all over?”
Cui Buqu gave him a cold laugh, “Although the Cui family is incomparable to those Wulin aristocrats, Cui Yong is not as pleasant to converse with as you think. Don’t think of making me play a hand in this matter. If you want the zither Yu Yin, Commander Feng, you will have to just depend on yourself!”
Very quickly Feng Xiao witnessed what Cui Buqu’s ‘not as pleasant to converse with’ meant, and the Cui Yong which Ninth Lady Cui claimed to be ‘easy to get along with’.
The man had white hair and a white beard. He wasn’t very tall, but his eyes were piercingly sharp, making him look unlike any common old man.
When Doctor Sun and Ninth Lady Cui were present, his tone was warm and wore a gentle gaze, like a common man who missed his granddaughter and an old friend. However, once his gaze fell upon both his visitors Feng Xiao and Cui Buqu, his look changed into a scrutinizing one.
“Young Master Pei, are you in any way related to one of the three Pei branches from Hedong Pei Clan?” Cui Yong asked.
The surname Pei belonged to one of the most prestigious families. After the Qinhan Dynasty, history changed and clans like Hedong Pei Clan and Yanjin Pei Clan were born. When the genealogy books of these families are taken out for cross checking, one will find that they shared the same ancestors, no less inferior to the Cui Clan.
Feng Xiao smiled and said, “I am from neither. My ancestors are common folks, they bear no titles or names. When it reached the generation of my grandfather, we managed to uptake the rank of an officer or two. Yet because I am the only son of three generations, I may come off a little bit willful.” Cui Yong nodded his head in indifference. In reality, his focus was never on Feng Xiao. Every since both of them entered, his gaze would linger on Cui Buqu from time to time, boring deep holes within.
“And Young Master Feng?” He asked Cui Buqu.
Cui Buqu replied indifferently, “Not much different from Brother Pei.”
Cui Yong asked dully, “May I inquire where is the hometown of Young Master Feng?”
Without waiting for Cui Buqu to reply, Cui Yong laughed, “Don’t be mistaken. I only asked that question because when I look at your face, you seem to resemble an old friend of mine.”
The corner of Cui Buqu’s lips raised. There was no smile that lingered in his gaze, “I have neither a sire nor a mother. They have both passed away long ago.”
Cui Yong was stunned, yet he could not help but ask more, “Are there no other family members of yours?”
Cui Buqu, “None.”
Cui Yong still wanted to prod further, but Doctor Sun spoke at the right time, “Host Cui, I have aged and it would be inconvenient for me to remain standing for long. It’s also the first time these two little fellows pay a visit. If you interrogate them like that, they will feel intimidated. Why not offer them shelter first? It won’t be too late to catch up a bit later.”
Although Doctor Sun was an employee in the Cui Clan’s medicine stall, he and Cui Yong had known each over for over ten years and Cui Yong himself was a frequent patient of Doctor Sun, so it was not considered inappropriate for him to talk to him in such a way.
Cui Yong cast Doctor Sun a glance before he patted his head and laughed, “I was too impatient. Both of you came at just the right time. Tomorrow it’s the Pomegranate flower Literary Festival. Since you enjoy literary writing, you will surely enjoy the festival.”
Feng Xiao hid away his usual wayward and elegant behaviour, but he was brimming with tingles of being reserved and prideful. This indeed made him look convincing enough that he had just started out with quite an extraordinary set of talents. However, he dared not over do his acting as a scholar in front of Cui Yong. “We have indeed come here this time for the festival. I heard that this year, the new Garrison Commander will also be attending.”
Cui Yong gave a knowing expression. Young people who wanted to borrow this stage in Boling to prove themselves in front of the Garrison Commander was very normal.
He caressed his beard and said, “That is right. However, the number of people who will be attending the literary festival this year will be a lot more than last year. Young talents are everywhere. I fear it would not be easy for you to snatch for the first-hand.”
Feng Xiao raised his head, “Without so many people, how could one prove themselves? When it comes to talents, age is just a number. Even if all the talented scholars of the world are present, I shall still dare attempt to try!”
The side of Cui Yong’s lips twitched. He thought in his heart that this man really is so bold that he’s not afraid his tongue would be cut by strong winds, but on the surface, he remained smiling, “Good. Young folks should be having such ambitions!”
He took a glance to the side to notice Ninth Lady Cui’s lingering gaze on Feng Xiao. How could he not understand what his own granddaughter was thinking about? She was obviously being seduced by beauty. However, this Pei Jingzhe was a prideful man who knew not how to be humble. He wasn’t even from a prestigious house. No matter how he looked at it, he was not a fitting match for Ninth Lady Cui. Cui Yong silently crossed out Feng Xiao’s name in his heart. He was prepared to order the servants to prepare two rooms that were far away from the room of Ninth Lady Cui.
But at that moment, a noise came from outside.
The squabbling of a man and a woman accompanied by footsteps came closer and closer. Before Cui Yong could stop them, both of them had already burst in.
“Let go of me!” The woman’s wrist was held in the man’s grip as they struggled.
The man had a face filled with fury. After he bulged in, he said fiercely,
“Father, I want a divorce!”
“How dare you!” The woman stopped struggling when she heard it and raised her voice into a shout.
“Why wouldn’t I dare?!” The man laughed coldly.
“Quiet, all of you!” Cui Yong shouted angrily. With a slap on the table, both man and woman got a grip of themselves, no longer daring to continue the ruckus, but the disdain on their faces still remained.
“At this moment, there are guests present. The way both of you behaved is really beneath yourselves. Get out, all of you! Whatever is your problem, we will speak of it later!” Cui Yong said with a cold expression, but his look implied that he wasn’t a stranger to his son’s bickering with his wife.
The woman abandoned all thoughts and knelt down, wailing as she said, “Father! This accursed Cui Lin dared to disrespect the family’s rules! He kept a mistress outside, while saying he wishes to divorce me. You have to speak for me!”
Cui Lin laughed coldly, “That woman is a good citizen. Were you thinking that she is one of the servants, free for you to do as you please?! I will put my verdict here: If you dare touch her, then you will be punished by the rules. When that time comes, even the gods would not be able to save you!”
“Get out, all of you!” Cui Yong shouted furiously.
With those few sentences, it was enough for Feng Xiao to determine the other’s identity.
This man must have been the third among all of Cui Yong’s four sons, the most useless, Cui Lin.
It was said that Cui Lin had always been the distinguished younger son. When he was little, he gained the favour of his parents. However, due to the fact that he was overly spoiled by them, he had achieved nothing and at present, there was never a peaceful day within his own family. He still needed his own father to step out and solve his own problems.
It was very difficult to believe that such an ordinary man was Cui Buqu’s birth father.
Then, he looked at Ninth Lady Cui, whose eyes were rolling in tears as she watched her parents argue in front of their guests. One of those guests was even someone she had a crush on, so it was inexplicably awkward and difficult for her.
Feng Xiao was getting interested as he watched the ruckus, but then he heard Cui Buqu say, “Host Cui, there is no need to be furious. We should be excusing ourselves.”
Cui Yong forced a smile, “Ninth Lady, please settle down both these Young Masters, then escort Doctor Sun back personally.”
Ninth Lady Cui hurriedly agreed, lowering her head as she left with Doctor Sun, not daring to take another look at Feng Xiao.
Just as Cui Buqu was leaving, he was stopped by Cui Lin. The latter walked up to him and stared at him with a strange gaze, “Who are you?”
He reached out to grab Cui Buqu, as if he wanted to pull him in front of him so he could take a closer look. However, his hand was stopped midway by a fan.
Feng Xiao smiled, “Please have some self-respect.”
Cui Lin ignored Feng Xiao, he kept glaring at Cui Buqu, “You look… a little bit familiar.”
Cui Buqu faked a laugh, “Sire, how many people have you told this to?”
Cui Lin felt uneasy, “You look a bit like…”
“San Lang!” Cui Yong’s thundering voice broke his thoughts. Cui Lin shut up, not daring to say anything more.
Feng Xiao and Cui Buqu left the place shoulder to shoulder. Behind them, voices blended into background noises. Even so, the sound of Cui Yong lecturing his son and daughter-in-law could still be heard.
“Everyone heralded the Cui family to be a prestigious clan, but it seems like within this vast and lofty manor, even they could not avoid these trivial family matters happening!” Feng Xiao flipped his fan open and fanned himself before sighing, “A-Qu, thankfully you didn’t grow up here. If you grew into such an unsightly manner like Cui Lin, you might as well run your head into the wall and commit suicide!”
Cui Buqu said, “Members of the Cui family are not completely useless. Cui Lin’s little brother, the fourth son Cui Pei, may be the youngest of them all, but he has been intelligent since he was little and made a name for himself. Both his other brothers are mundane, but they are not as dispicable as him.”
His voice was very calm, as if the man he was speaking of was not his own father. Feng Xiao couldn’t help doubting whether his own theories were correct.
To determine a gentleman by his background was an extremely idiotic choice.
People who were made for greatness would never be dragged behind by their birth. Feng Xiao never thought of using his enemy’s birth against them.
Now, however, his curiosity for Cui Buqu was growing with every next sunrise, Cui Buqu alone held his complete interest.
At this moment, perhaps he hadn’t thought of delving into those two ideas and tell their differences.
There was a cottage next to the Cui manor especially used for treating guests. Cui Buqu and Feng Xiao were both brought there, the two rooms facing counterfeit mountains. Outside the door was a curved hallway and a spring lake. The Cui family also sent two beautiful maidservants to attend to them. Their treatment was thorough, leaving no room for discomfort, even Feng Xiao who had indulged in all the luxuries in the world could not help praising them in satisfaction.
Cui Buqu couldn’t help himself from mocking him, “Cui Yong hopes to make use of beautiful faces to seduce you, so that Ninth Lady Cui can witness for herself how the person she looked up to was such a cheap man. However, Cui Yong would never have guessed that your standards are so high that nothing would have stopped you from taking your own reflection in the mirror as your wife!”
Feng Xiao laughed, “Haha. QuQu, did you notice that whenever you are unhappy, you especially love to mock others?”
Cui Buqu’s face remained expressionless, “No.”
Feng Xiao patted his shoulder, “You’re cute that way, keep it going!”
Cui Buqu looked at him as if he had gone mad. All of a sudden, Feng Xiao moved very close. Cui Buqu frowned, wanting to move away, but his path was quickly barricaded by Feng Xiao, before he was dragged in front of him. Feng Xiao looking sensuously mysteriousness.
“The Cui family and you shared such a deep past, even if you have gone separate ways, it is unavoidable for you to feel uneasy when you think about it. However, you still accompanied me here to retrieve the zither Yu Yin. Say, were you doing this just for me?”
Cui Buqu remained silent for a moment, before speaking slowly, “The Zuoyue Bureau discovered that Cui Yong’s eldest son, who is also the present treasurer of the Cui family business, Cui Da Lang, has been exchanging secret messages with the Linchuan Palace Academy of the Southern Dynasty. They have even aided one another financially in private. Every year, provinces worth at least a thousand silver ingots went through the Jinhuan Group and made their way to the South.”
Between the House of Blades and the Zuoyue Bureau, one investigated movements that happened within the Imperial Court, and the other placed their focus on happenings in the Jianghu province. Although sometimes their tasks overlapped, ever since the establishment of both agencies, there was a difference in their duties. Presently, Feng Xiao was not surprised that the Zuoyue Bureau obtained leads through the Linchuan Palace Academy that the House of Blades knew nothing of.
Feng Xiao spoke with an startling tone, “I initially thought that you finally found it in yourself to spend your time leisurely, yet here you are solving cases again.”
“I’m not here just to solve cases.” Cui Buqu lightly broods, “It is true I do not hate the Cui family, but I never said that I do not hate Cui Yong and Cui Lin.”
Determined, he mustered a smile, “However, my goal this time is indeed to watch the collateral branch of the Cui family from hundreds of years crumble within a single night.” ……
Although Cui Lin argued with his wife and made a scene before his father, he did not manage to reach a conclusion and instead sustained a lecture from his own father. As vengefulness brimmed in him, the more he thought of it, the more he sulked. He had no mood to even visit his mistress. He roamed around in the end and wandered heedless into the Dingshi garden where their guests resided.
To him, something that happened more than twenty years ago was too far in the past. However, Cui Buqu’s presence had once again dug up his memory from many years ago.
Although the other claimed not to be a Cui, his eyes had too much of a resemblance that Cui Lin couldn’t help feeling disturbed.
That was the biggest mistake in his life, and it was also the mistake he never wanted to be revealed.
For the sake of this secret, he was held in custody by Cui Yong for years, not even taking a step out of Boling county.
In the county of Boling, words of the Cui family still held some amount of power. Cui Lin did not protest against Cui Yong’s banning of him never leaving Boling. When he was young and ambitious, everything vanished along with this verdict. So what more could he do aside from indulging himself in his desires of lust?!
Cui Lin was anxious, and once again he thought of Cui Buqu.
Not only were his eyes familiar, for even that cold, piercing gaze was striking. It was only because he wasn’t just as beautiful, so his face did not draw much attention.
There was a fire burning in his heart. It made him both anxious and curious, burning more and more vigorously, so much that he couldn’t help wishing he could vent it all out. The more Cui Ling thought, the more he couldn’t suppress it. He wanted to take another look at Cui Buqu so that he could relieve himself.
Once he arrived in Cui Buqu’s room, he saw Cui Buqu’s maidservant bringing a pot of water out, mumbling to herself with a confused look.
“Bai Yu.” Cui Lin called after the maidservant, “Is that Young Master Feng in the house?”
The maidservant immediately said, “Young Master Feng and Young Master Pei have gone out.”
Cui Lin furrowed his brows, “It’s already so late, yet they went out?”
The maidservant interjected, “Young Master Feng gave me a new name, so now I am no longer Bai Yu.”
Cui Lin felt displeased, “As someone who was only passing by, living here for a few days, and he dared to change your name?”
The maidservant, “Yes. Young Master Feng even said that this was an excellent name. Once all the lords in the Cui family heard of it, they would be overjoyed. So I simply listened and thought it was strange. It’s called Yu Mo.”
Cui Ling became impatient, “Fish ink?”
The maidservant, “Young Master Feng said, it’s Yu from ‘superfluous’, and Mo from ‘Jasmine’.”
Yu Mo, Yu Mo…
Cui Lin searched the vast sea in his mind twice, and suddenly his eyes opened themselves wide with a look as if he’d just seen a ghost.
Host Cui: The raws used 东翁, which is a form of address when a friendly visitor addresses the host of the house. I drew a family tree of the Cui family to make it easier for everyone. As mentioned before,
Cui Da/Cui Da Lang = Eldest Cui Cui Er = Second Cui
Cui San = Third Cui Cui Si = Forth Cui
Content warning: Mention of rape to a secondary character.
This name, Yu Mo, was like a book that had been abandoned for years; left to accumulate dust yet falling down from its shelf all of a sudden to open itself in front of Cui Lin.
Leaving him defenseless and unprepared.
Those memories were taboos, and more than that, they were shameful.
They weren’t only his shame, but also the shame of the entire Cui family.
It was a mistake he had made when he was young and wild. It was a tragedy that he would never wish to recall in the entirety of his life.
A loud, thundering ring sounded on the top of his head!
His entire body shivered as he raised his head unconsciously.
The sky outside the eaves was bright for a moment like daylight, but then it turned abruptly dark.
Black clouds suddenly floated into a pleasantly bright evening, concealing all the moonlight that sprouted like a willow branch.
Heaven and earth sank into darkness. Wind and rain emerged.
Cui Lin’s brain was in chaos; it switched between blurry visions of the faces of Yu Mo and Cui Buqu. They blended and mixed inconsistently. “…San Lang! San Lang!” The maidservant couldn’t remember how many times she called, until Cui Lin finally looked back at her with a pair of hazy eyes.
The wind bellowed colder than before, pushing Cui Lin two steps backward.
“You look terrible. Should I call for a physician or the mistress?”
Bai Yu’s words managed to roughly bring Cui Lin back to reality.
“Right! We need to tell Father. Tell him immediately!” Cui Lin pushed the maidservant aside before hurriedly running past her.
The continuous splattering of raindrops resumed, and the night’s breeze brought a drizzling rain.
However, Cui Lin did not feel cold at all.
His footsteps kept getting quicker and quicker. In the darkness, he ran rashly with heavy sweat and a panicked expression.
Cui Buqu, too, did not feel cold.
At the side of his foot was a small lump of a hill not far away from Ping’an city.
Before him was a small forlorn grave.
Not far from the grave was a cemetery, and that place was the true burial grounds of the Cui family.
Feng Xiao read the tombstone of the grave before him. Here lies Yu Mo.
There were no prefixes or inscriptions. When people from the countryside passed by, the most they could try to guess was that the grave’s owner was a female. As to whether she was married or not or what happened to her, or who established her grave, they could not have known. They would definitely not be able to guess that she was related to the Cui clan.
“This is surely a very long story.” Feng Xiao said. He has heard of many tales before.
Every person of Jianghu who had managed to make a name for himself would surely have his very own vicissitude, rocky or magnificent past. However, Feng Xiao was an exception. He had always sailed a smooth journey like the proud son of Heaven. He never liked to hear the tales of others, for even if he listened to a countless number of them, they were tales that belonged to someone else. Regardless of whether he felt sympathy or fury towards them, it would be pointless.
Yet now, he really wanted to hear the story of Maiden Yu. Because this story was related to Cui Buqu.
“Perhaps thirty years ago, maybe even earlier, there was a family who taught and farmed as a living named Yu. They had no sons, only one daughter, whom everyone called Maiden Yu. From the moment I was able to think, she was already dead. Judging from paintings of her drawn by others, she must have been beautiful.”
The sky was slowly turning dark.
The only source of light was the lantern placed before the grave by Feng Xiao.
That gentle light illustrated the contour of both men who stood before the grave, as it grew dimmer in the drizzle.
As if reeling back in times of the past. Yu Mo wasn’t only a beauty, she also possessed the ideal image of beauties that existed in the hearts of many people; for example, a woman of pure heart and spirit, or a man of scholarly virtue.
Father Yu was a man of literary reputation among the locals. Although he hadn’t obtained the post of an officer, many poems and literature have been wrought under his pen. Many people heard of his name and came to pay him a visit, however, the only one was retained by Father Yu to become a disciple of his was a man surnamed Yuan, named Sheng. He was the childhood friend and senior apprentice-brother of Yu Mo who she grew up with.
As Father Yu watched his daughter grow up into an elegant and beautiful lady, he had the intention of uniting her with his disciple through marriage. However, Yuan Sheng desired to leave their house to see the world, and once he left, he never returned.
One day when Yu Mo was out to pay some relatives a visit, on her way home, a violent rain poured down all of a sudden. The currents of the waters were fierce, Yu Mo and her maidservant wandered astray from the family and stood by the riverbank. It was there when her path crossed with a member of the Cui family who was there for a saunter. The other party had seen that she was unable to cross the river, so he came forward on his own accord, waddled two trips across the river to carry Yu Mo and her maidservant on his back to the other side. Yu Mo was extremely grateful. She asked the other party his name in hopes to ask her father to thank them personally in the future. The other party said that his name was Cui Hang and that he was from the collateral branch of the Cui clan, ranked the second among his siblings.
When the story paused here, Feng Xiao asked, “A lie?”
Cui Buqu nodded his head, “It was a lie. The other party was Cui San. Due to being mischievous when he was young, he often played truant and ran off on his own to play. He feared his father’s wrath, so he falsely claimed the name of his second brother.” After that, the Yu family sent someone to thank the Cui family. At the same time, Cui Er had reached a matured age, and the Cui family was searching for a candidate to be his wife. At the same time, Maiden Yu’s mannerisms and looks both fulfilled their criteria, so both of them were to be wed.
Without the incident of Maiden Yu crossing the river, this marriage would simply be one between a literary gentleman and a beautiful maiden. Yet, that tale was like adding flowers to a brocade, turning it into a fated match made in Heaven.
Feng Xiao remained silent for a moment, “So, this was actually a comedy of errors, a tragedy of woes?”
Cui Buqu smiled, “Not at all. Although it was a mistake, it was not a tragedy. After Maiden Yu married into the Cui family, she discovered that, the one who carried her across the river that day was actually Cui San, and that the rushed meeting that day wasn’t quite love at first sight. Maiden Yu and Cui Er found each other to be a perfect match and fell in love. Both of them watched falling snow and talked about poems, watched flowers and chatted about spring waters. They roamed the wilderness and unexplored mountains together, very quickly everyone referred to them as the perfect couple.”
This episode of rain looked like it wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon.
Cui Lin could not even bother himself to bring an umbrella. He was running through the rain.
Lighting struck across the horizon and was cast onto his face. The colour of his face was paler than the sky itself.
In the parlour of the Cui manor, a boisterous crowd was accompanied by the brimming light of the lanterns. On Cui Yong’s face was the joyousness it did not have when he was lecturing Cui Lin and his wife.
For the most outstanding son of the Cui family, Cui Pei, had returned.
“You finally dared to come back. Do you even remember this is your home?” Although his tone was reprimanding, everyone could tell that Cui Yong wasn’t truly angry.
Cui Pei also laughed as he responded, “Originally, I was traveling south to visit an old friend, but I passed near Boling and heard that there would be a Pomegranate flower Literary Festival. So haven’t I come home now?”
Cui Yong spoke through his beard as he glared at him in the eye, “If there was no literary festival, would you not have come back?”
“How could that be!” Cui Pei laughed loudly, “The father is here, as are all his children, so am I not home now?”
Towards his beloved son, Cui Yong was happy for a moment, but his smile paled all of a sudden, “Ever since Maiden Yuan passed from illness, you were unwilling to remarry, insisting on wanting to travel the five mountains and three rivers. I know that you never actually missed this home.”
Cui Pei, “Father…”
Cui Yong waved his hand, “There is nothing more to say. Your return is a good thing. Stay for three months or two, why don’t you?”
Cui Si watched his old father in full white beard and an aging face, for a moment, he was unable to bring himself to reject him.
Outside the door, there was a sudden sound of footsteps.
Cui Lin’s shadow carelessly barged into the vision of both men. He was drenched and panting, strands of hair plastered to his face, cornered to an indescribable tight corner.
Before Cui Yong’s face could dull, Cui Lin had already exclaimed in panic, “He did not die! He’s back!”
“San Lang!” Cui Yong bellowed at him, “What is this madness! Didn’t you see that your fourth brother has returned?!”
Cui Lin had not yet calmed down, his voice rose, “Him! That Feng Xiao is him! Did you know what name he just gave Bai Yu? It was Yu Mo! Maiden Yu! Do you still remember her?”
The colour on the face of both sitting men changed.
It was a rare sight for Cui Yong to lose his composure. He pressed onto the table, wanting to get up, but his knees wobbled, and he sat back down.
“Have you mistaken?!” He exclaimed questioningly at Cui Lin.
Cui Lin shook his head with all his might, “No. I have asked Bai Yu a few times. She said that Feng guy even taught her from which two words it came from: Yu from ‘superfluous’, and Mo from ‘Jasmine’.”
Cui Yong remained silent for a while, then he suddenly turned to Cui Pei,
“That year, you came back and said he was dead.”
Cui Pei laughed bitterly, “During that year, I brought him to Doctor’s Sun with the intention for the doctor to save him with all his abilities. However, by the time I arrived, Doctor Sun said that the child was beyond saving. He died. Before the child passed, he begged for a casual burial, since the Cui family never considered him their own, so it was impossible for the child to be buried with the ancestors; so why not just bury him anywhere to be free? Doctor Sun’s heart had a moment of weakness, so he agreed to his request. I even saw the child’s grave with my own two eyes. I even made him his tombstone later on.” Cui Lin interrupted him in panic, “Other than him, who would have known Yu Mo! The Yu family only had single sons through three generations, and a single daughter when it came to Maiden Yu. ‘Feng Xiao’ is definitely an alias!”
“What nonsense are you babbling about?!” Cui Yong bellowed furiously, “Even if he is still alive, he is your biological son! Are you afraid he’s back for revenge?”
Cui Lin’s face grew very pale for a moment. He stood there in a daze, no longer able to speak another word.
Cui Yong inhaled a breath and forcibly regained his composure.
“His surname is Feng. The Yu family does not have any relatives by the name of Feng. There are no families of Feng in Boling either. However, Maiden Yu had a senior apprentice-brother. Could it be him instead?”
He looked at Cui Pei as if waiting for an answer.
Cui Pei stared at his usually firm and resolute father. It was the first time his heart generated a feeling that his father had truly aged, so he could not help but sigh, and said the words that Cui Yong loathed to hear the most.
“I have never seen that young man, but if he is truly that child, then he shouldn’t he look like San Lang, or perhaps Maiden Yu?”
Cui Yong pressed his lips and did not speak for a long time. Cui Lin’s face grew paler.
Cui Pei suddenly understood, “In that case, he really is…? Names can be falsely claimed, so it cannot be taken for the truth. No matter if he was alive or not, since he knew who Yu Mo was and leaked information to third brother on purpose, then he must have known what happened during that year. Father, please invite him over.”
He sighed, “Regardless of whether he’s here to apologize, or own up for crimes, these words need to be spoken clearly in the end.” “Father…” Cui Lin said weakly, “I do not want to see him, I do not want to see him!”
After the beard swayed for a long time, Cui Yong finally spoke, “Si Lang, call your eldest brother back immediately, and send someone out to ask for those two men. Bringing them back is a must!”
Light drizzling rain splattered atop the tombstone, drenching the simple and crude grave wet, like all the tears the grave’s owner never had the chance to shed when she was alive.
It was unknown since when the lantern’s flame was extinguished by the rain.
In the starless and moonless night, although the year had reached Summer, the chill remained.
They did not bring any umbrellas when they came out. Cui Buqu never intended to bring one either, allowing his shoulders and hair to be damped in droplets of rain.
Since the tale had begun, he would have to finish it.
A story that was sweet in the beginning, but ended in tragedy.
Cui Buqu, “The good times did not last. A fever claimed Cui Er, and he never woke up from it. Soon, he departed from this life and left Maiden Yu widowed without any children. The Cui family did not request for her to remain widowed to Cui Er, and the Yu family was also heartbroken for their daughter, they wished to take her back to remarry again. However, Maiden Yu herself had been unwilling. Cui Er and her shared a deep, profound love. She would rather remain widowed for life, as she would never find someone as wonderful as him. However, when Cui Er and his wife lived in blissfulness with each other, while everybody praised them, there was one person who was secretly soused in jealousy.” What level of intelligence was Feng Xiao at? In the blink of an eye, he’d guessed the answer, “Cui San Lang, Cui Lin.”
Cui Buqu, “That is correct.”
Ever since that fated day, Cui Lin was drawn to Maiden Yu’s beauty. He hated himself for falsely using his second brother’s name, otherwise, all the blissfulness that came afterward along with Maiden Yu would have belonged to him. He married his own wife afterwards, but the couple was not loving with one another. He accumulated all of this resentment in his heart and that made it even more difficult to behave normally in front of his loving second brother and his wife.
Yet the past belonged to the past, even if it was difficult to accept it, Maiden Yu never belonged to him.
Who could have guessed that the second brother died young, leaving Maiden Yu alone in this world? Maiden Yu herself was willing to remain widowed, and most of the times of the year, she remained in the room she used to share with her husband, writing poems and painting in reminiscence of him.
The fire in Cui San’s heart burned more and more vigorously. Finally, a day came, he slipped into the villa drunk, ordered people to distract those around Maiden Yu away from her, and then raped her.
His reasoned with himself. Since Maiden Yu refused to remarry and was relocated into the villa, the possibility of them meeting each other again was rare. Additionally, the one who met Maiden Yu first was him, and it was Cui Er who stole his woman away from him.
Feng Xiao raised a brow, “Since Cui San liked Maiden Yu so much, why did he not object to the marriage when it was arranged?”
The corner of Cui Buqu’s lips raised, “That is because during that time, the Cui family had already arranged a better marriage for him. The other party was the youngest daughter of the collateral branch from the Fanyang Lu clan. This pedigree was even higher than the Yu family’s. To Cui San, this pedigree was his pride, but it was a wrong thought in passing which later became the regret of his life.”
Feng Xiao snickered, “As expected.”
Maiden Yu had always been soft, yet she struggled with all her life that night. Even after the incident was through, she refused to be Cui San’s mistress. She even strongly objected to it, and immediately spilled out everything to Cui Yong.
Cui Yong was taken aback, so he immediately questioned Cui San and practically beat him to death. If not for his wife’s pitiful begging of mercy, he would have disowned Cui San.
However, this was still a gravely shameful matter. If it spread, then the Cui family’s hundred-year fame would be lost, and even Maiden Yu would be discriminated against by society. If that time came, even if Maiden Yu was unwilling, she would have to leave the Cui family, and she could no longer be Cui Er’s widow.
In order to remain a couple with Cui Er in the afterlife, Maiden Yu told Cui Yong that she was willing to tolerate it and pretend that it never happened, on the condition that she never wanted to see Cui San in her life ever again.
Cui Yong agreed. He let Maiden Yu live in another villa after that and posed strong guards to be her defense, forbidding anyone from getting near her again. Cui San was under house arrest in the Cui manor, not allowed to take a single step out.
However, after that night, Maiden Yu discovered that she was pregnant. As to whose child it was, that was a given.
Feng Xiao, “That child… was you?”
Cui Buqu replied, “Yes, it was me.” His manner of speech was very calm, as if he was recalling the story of someone else.
Droplets of rain splattered on his head and shoulders. Everything was cold, even his heart.
Between Heaven and Earth, everything became a blur. But the sigh next to him was clearer than anything.
Yet how would Feng Xiao, who had always been unrestrained, wayward, and never took someone else’s matters to heart, sigh like that?
Cui Buqu smiled. He had definitely misheard it.
“I still have a lot of questions to ask.” Feng Xiao refrained from waving his fan. To wave a fan in the mist of wind and rain, after all, was very stupid.
Cui Buqu said plainly, “I know. That is because this story has not yet ended.”